Physical activity improves quality of life.
Do you want to add years to your life? Or life to your years?
Feeling your best boosts your zeal for life!
The American Heart Association recommends 30-minutes of moderate activity, but three 10-minute periods of activity are as beneficial to your overall fitness as one 30-minute session. This is achievable! Physical activity may also help encourage you to spend some time outdoors. Sunlight on your skin helps your body produce vitamin D, which brings many added health benefits.
Here are some reasons why physical activity is proven to improve both mental and physical health.
Physical activity boosts mental wellness.
Regular physical activity can relieve tension, anxiety, depression and anger. You may not only notice a “feel good sensation” immediately following your physical activity, but most people also note an improvement in general well-being over time during the weeks and months as physical activity becomes a part of your routine.
Exercise increases the flow of oxygen which directly affects the brain. Your mental acuity and memory can be improved with physical activity.
Physical activity improves physical wellness.
It enhances your immune system and decreases the risk of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Reduced risk factors
Becoming more active can lower your blood pressure by as much as 4 to 9 mm Hg. That's the same reduction in blood pressure delivered by some antihypertensive medications. Physical activity can also boost your levels of good cholesterol.
Physical activity prolongs your optimal health.
Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well. And for each hour of regular exercise you get, you'll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don't start until middle age. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for as little as 30 minutes a day has the proven health benefits listed above as well as:
• Improves blood circulation, which reduces the risk of heart disease
• Keeps weight under control
• Helps in the battle to quit smoking
• Improves blood cholesterol levels
• Prevents and manages high blood pressure
• Prevents bone loss
• Boosts energy level
• Helps manage stress
• Releases tension
• Promotes enthusiasm and optimism
• Counters anxiety and depression
• Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
• Improves self-image
• Increases muscle strength, increasing the ability to do other physical activities
• Provides a way to share an activity with family and friends
• Reduces coronary heart disease in women by 30-40 percent
• Reduces risk of stroke by 20 percent in moderately active people and by 27 percent in highly active ones
• Establishes good heart-healthy habits in children and counters the conditions (obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, poor lifestyle habits, etc.) that lead to heart attack and stroke later in life
• Helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging and maintains quality of life and independence longer for seniors
So why not see for yourself? Once you get over the inertia and find creative ways to fit physical activity into your life, we think you'll agree that the effort to get moving is worth it!
Getting Started – Tips for Long-term Exercise Success
Walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, skiing, aerobic dancing or any of dozens of other activities can help your heart. They all cause you to feel warm, perspire and breathe heavily without being out of breath and without feeling any burning sensation in your muscles.
Whether it is a structured exercise program or just part of your daily routine, all exercise adds up to a healthier heart. Take the first step by walking. It's free, easy to do and when you have a walking companion, you're more likely to stay motivated.
Here are some tips for exercise success:
Dress for success!
• Wear comfortable, properly fitted sneakers or flat shoes with laces.
• Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing appropriate for the weather and the activity.
Make the time!
• Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week (or whatever your doctor recommends).
• Exercise at the same time of day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. For example, you might walk every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 12:30 p.m.
• Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way.
Keep reasonable expectations of yourself.
• If you've been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity program.
• Look for chances to be more active during the day. Walk the mall before shopping, take the stairs instead of the escalator or take 10–15 minute breaks while watching TV or sitting for walking or some other activity.
• Don't get discouraged if you stop for a while. Get started again gradually and work up to your old pace.
• Don't exercise right after meals, when it's very hot or humid, or when you just don't feel up to it.
Make it fun!
• Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting. Add variety. Develop a repertoire of several activities that you can enjoy. That way, exercise will never seem boring or routine.
• Ask family and friends to join you — you'll be more likely to stick with it if you have company. Or join an exercise group, health club or the YMCA. Many churches and senior centers offer exercise programs too. (Remember to get your doctor's permission first.)
• Use variety to keep your interest up. Walk one day, swim the next, then go for a bike ride on the weekend.
• Use music to keep you entertained.
Track and celebrate your success!
• Note your activities on a calendar or in a logbook. Write down the distance or length of time of your activity and how you feel after each session.
• Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!
• Visit StartWalkingNow.org to find all the resources you need to get moving and stay motivated