Benefits of regular physical activity
There are many benefits of regular physical activity, including:
- Improving cardiovascular health: Exercise helps to lower the risk of heart disease, hypertension and stroke by improving circulation, controlling blood pressure, and reducing the risk of blood clots.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Regular physical activity helps to burn calories and can help prevent obesity.
- Strengthening muscles and bones: Exercise helps to build and maintain strong muscles and bones, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- Improving mental health: Regular physical activity can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It also improves mood and cognitive function.
- Improving sleep: Exercise can help to improve the quality and quantity of sleep, which is essential for overall health and well-being.
- Reducing the risk of chronic diseases: Regular physical activity can help to lower the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s important to note that it’s important to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health conditions or risk factors.
Physical activity guidelines
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days a week.
Moderate-intensity activities include brisk walking, cycling, dancing, and gardening. Vigorous-intensity activities include running, swimming, and high-intensity interval training.
Muscle-strengthening activities include resistance training, weightlifting, and bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups.
Additionally, adults should also aim to reduce sedentary behavior, such as prolonged sitting, by breaking up long periods of sitting with short bouts of physical activity throughout the day.
It’s important to note that these recommendations are a minimum, and many health experts recommend even more physical activity for optimal health. The guidelines also vary depending on the person’s age, gender, and physical condition.
It’s always better to consult with a doctor or a fitness professional before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health conditions or risk factors.
Ways to increase physical activity
- Incorporating more movement into your daily routine: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike to work, and park further away from your destination.
- Setting fitness goals: Set specific, measurable, and attainable goals for yourself, such as running a 5k or completing a certain number of push-ups.
- Joining a sports team or club: Participating in organized sports or joining a gym or fitness class can make exercise more fun and social.
- Incorporating physical activity into your workday: Take short breaks to stretch or walk around, and consider a standing or treadmill desk.
- Incorporating physical activity into your leisure time: Go for a hike, play with your kids or pets, or take a dance class.
- Being consistent: Try to make physical activity a regular part of your routine, and try to be consistent with it.
- Finding an activity you enjoy: Experiment with different types of physical activity to find something that you enjoy and look forward to doing.
- Making it a family affair: Involve your family in physical activity, whether it’s taking a walk after dinner or playing a game together.
Remember, the key is to find something that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle, and to make it a consistent part of your routine.