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Why is exercise important?

Research shows that those who are physically active are likely to live longer, healthier lives.

Physical activity can lead to many benefits:

  • Weight maintenance
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved blood sugar regulation
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced stress
  • Stronger bone density

In addition, a person who has hypertension, diabetes or a history of smoking can greatly benefit from including regular physical activity in their daily routine.

What should be included in an exercise program?

There are three main components to a well-balanced program of physical activity:

  • Aerobic activity—Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., briskly walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., running) every week.
  • Muscle strengthening—Incorporate muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week. For the purposes of general training, focus on two to three upper body and lower body exercises. Abdominal exercises are an important part of strength training as well.

Flexibility training—Flexibility training is important too, but it is frequently neglected, resulting in increased tightness as you age and become less active.

As with any change to your health and wellness regime, it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start exercising.

How can I get started?
Commitment to a regular physical activity program is more important than the intensity of your workouts. Choose exercises you are likely to pursue and enjoy, such as these activities:
• Walking
• Running
• Stair climbing
• Biking
• Rowing
• Swimming

Life is full of responsibilities that can pull you in multiple directions, and sometimes exercise takes a back seat to other obligations. But letting your fitness slip can create serious health risks down the road and make bad fitness habits even harder to break later on.

Where can I learn more?
For more information about exercise programs, please contact your doctor.

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