The evidence is clear: regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health, and people of all ages and body types can be physically active. Choose activities you enjoy and do them often!
BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:
- Prevents chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke
- Controls weight
- Makes your muscles stronger
- Reduces fat
- Promotes strong bone, muscle and joint development
- Conditions the heart and lungs
- Builds overall strength and endurance
- Improves sleep
- Decreases potential of becoming depressed
- Increases your energy and self-esteem
- Relieves stress
- Increases your chances of living longer
TYPES OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Include exercise of each of the types of physical activity listed below in your weekly routine. Keep in mind, if you haven’t been active in a while, start slowly and build up.
Strengthening your muscles makes you stronger, stimulates bone growth, lowers blood sugar, assists with weight control, improves balance and posture, and reduces stress and pain in the lower back and joints. Use free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, and your own body weight. Form is key, so work with a physical therapist or certified fitness professional before you get started. Aim to strength train two times per week.
Aerobic exercise gives your heart and lungs a workout, while increasing endurance. Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity. Examples: walking, climbing stairs, running, cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, and aerobic classes.
Routine stretching helps maintain flexibility, which increases your range of motion and reduces pain and the risk for injury. Aim for a stretching program most days of the week, or at least three or four times per week.
Especially important as we get older, improving your balance makes you feel steadier on your feet and helps prevent falls. Add balance exercise into your strength training routine or sign-up for a yoga or tai chi class.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY RECOMMENDATIONS
Adults: minimum of 30 minutes per day
Children: minimum of 60 minutes, at least five days per week
If time is a challenge, break your activities up into three ten-minute sessions. Short bouts of activity have similar health benefits as longer bouts.
For more information on physical activity, check out Move Your Way at health.gov/moveyourway/
Sources: https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/index.html | https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/the-4-most-important-types-of-exercise
ELIOR NORTH AMERICA