Did you know that May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? This national observance encourages people to get regular exercise and eat healthier since it’s important for your well-being. By being more active, you’ll gain several health benefits. You’ll:
- Increase your chances of living longer.
- Develop stronger muscles and bones.
- Lose or maintain a healthy weight.
- Sleep better.
- Look better.
- Feel better about yourself and life in general.
- Have fun.
Actually, any exercise is better than none. But the more exercise you do, the greater the health benefits you’ll receive. When you exercise, your body uses energy. However, to get the maximum health benefits from exercise, you need to do activities that make you breathe harder and get your heart pumping more. You also need to include strengthening exercises to make your muscles stronger.
So what can you do to add more physical activity into your life?
- Walk the dog.
- Take a bike ride after dinner.
- Walk with co-workers during lunch.
- Play tag with the kids.
- Dance around your living room to your favorite CD.
- Do active house and/or yard work, like cleaning windows or mowing the grass.
- Park the car further away from the store or your office and walk the rest of the way.
Whatever you do, choose something you like to do, so you’ll be more likely to continue exercising every week. Realize every minute counts. So even if you can only do something for 10 to 15 minutes, it’s better than nothing. Ideally, it’s best to be active at least 3 days a week. Just gradually exercise a little more each time and/or exercise more often.
According to the national exercise guidelines, for aerobic activities at the moderate level, you need to do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week. During moderate activities, you should be able to talk, but you won’t be able to sing. Some moderate activities include ballroom or line dancing, walking briskly, water aerobics, biking on level ground, baseball, canoeing and tennis (doubles).
For more vigorous aerobic activities, you should do at least 1 hour and 15 minutes a week. During vigorous activities you’ll only be able to say a few words without stopping to catch your breath. Some vigorous activities include aerobic dance, fast dancing, biking faster than 10 mph, jogging or running, jumping rope, hiking uphill, swimming laps, basketball, soccer, and tennis (singles).
You can also combine or alternate between moderate or vigorous activities each week.
Additionally, at least twice a week, you should include muscle strengthening activities. These activities should work your major muscle groups, such as the legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders and arms. Perform exercises for each muscle group at least 8 to 12 reps per session.
By picking activities you enjoy doing, you’ll be more apt to stick to your new exercise routine. Everyone can gain the benefits of physical activity, so start getting active.
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Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.