Have you ever heard the quote “If you could put the benefits of exercise into a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medicine in the world”?
For the most part, we all know that exercise is good for us and that we should do it; however, let’s review some of the benefits of exercise and physical activity and how we can all make simple and effective lifestyle to move more.
A few benefits of physical activity include:
- Reducing your risk of many common chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
- Improving your bone density and strengthening your muscles
- Making it easier to reach and maintain a healthy weight
- Strengthening your immunity and improving your body’s resistance
- Improving your mental health and cognitive function
- Helping you live better and longer
Let’s discuss a hypothetical question, If somebody was to offer you $1,000 dollars for showing up at a safe and positive 30 minute meeting tomorrow? Would you show up? Most of you are thinking, “of course!”
Okay, if you could have all of the above listed physical activity health benefits by taking a 30 minute walk daily? Would you do it? Most people would say, “of course.” The problem however, is that roughly two thirds of Americans and sedentary or physically inactive.
Are the majority of American’s physically inactive because they do not know the benefits or because they don’t incorporate physical activity into their daily lifestyle.
We can simplify exercise and physical activity into two words – move more. We can move more by:
- Selecting physical activities that you enjoy (walking, hiking, running, biking, swimming, gardening, playing sports)
- Starting slow and progressing over time (start with 5 minutes and then progressively increase duration and/or intensity)
- Seeking opportunities to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine (reading while on an exercise bike or having a walking meeting, walking while talking on the phone)
- Exercising with a friend or a group of people (strengthens your commitment and provides social support)
- Incorporating exercise that helps with all the components of physical fitness (flexibility, strength, endurance, cardiorespiratory, and body composition)
- Identify and work towards personal physical fitness goals and challenges (complete a 5k walk/run event, complete a mud-run, walk 60 minutes straight, join a sports team)
- Changing your routine (try something new and different)
Do you have to exercise? No. Will you become a healthier and better version of yourself if you create and maintain a physically active lifestyle? Yes! You deserve the health benefits that accompany physical activity and exercise. Get started today!
As you prepare for and work towards your goal of moving more focus on progress, not perfection. Please remember that you can improve your daily lifestyle and your health.