Living a physically active lifestyle has many health benefits, such as preventing many health risks like heart disease, diabetes, depression, etc. Unfortunately, many people around the world have not yet realized the importance of living a physically active lifestyle and are missing out on many benefits that come with it.
Physical activity is one therapy that offers many health benefits that no other therapy can provide. So, if want to improve your well-being, then you should make regular exercising a part of your life.
What is meant by an active lifestyle?
An active lifestyle is a lifestyle that involves doing/performing some physical activities throughout the day. It integrates physical activity into your daily routines, such as biking to work, doing yard work, or walking to the store. Physical activity is much more than just exercising or working out.
Benefits of living a physically active lifestyle
There are many health-related benefits of being physically active and living an active lifestyle:
- An active lifestyle helps to prevent chronic diseases like Coronary heart disease, hypertension, certain types of cancer, etc.
- Physical activities improve your brain performance and enhance sharp memory.
- It improves the overall health and self-well-being
- Being physically active helps to maintain a healthy weight. It helps to prevent the building up of fats.
- It improves your mood, reduces depression, and relieves anxiety
- Improves your immune system
- Active living improves your sleeping pattern and helps to relax
- It improves self-esteem
- It helps to strengthen your bones and muscles and improves balance and flexibility
- Assists to maintain a proper balance and improves posture
- It helps to perform daily activities without getting tired easily. Being physically active helps condition your heart, lungs, and strengthens your muscles. It enhances the energy level.
- It helps to maintain and improve physical strength and fitness, as we age, we start to lose physical strength, so keeping active can help to improve our physical strength. This is also very important for fall prevention.
Types of exercises that can help you to stay healthy and physically active
There are three types of exercises or activities that a person can do to keep active, and these are Endurance, Flexibility, and Strengthening exercises.
However, in most cases, people tend to focus on only one or two types of exercises or activities and think that they are doing enough. Research shows that it is important to include all three types of exercises in your routine, as each one of them has different benefits to your body.
- Endurance activities – mostly referred to as aerobics. Endurance activities or exercises improves the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. e.g., dancing, swimming, skating, cycling, yard work (like lawn mowing) brisk walking and running. These activities help to prevent the risk of many chronic diseases like hypertension, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many others.
- Flexibility activities – flexibility improves your body’s ability to move and assist in keeping your muscles and joints relaxed. e.g., yard work, vacuuming, stretching, yoga, and golf.
- Strengthening activities – strength activities help to maintain muscles and keep bones strong. e.g., yard work (raking leaves, lawn mowing) climbing stairs, cycling, lifting weights, push-ups, and exercising with a resistance band.
How can you incorporate physical activity into your daily routine?
As indicated above, living a physically active lifestyle improves your overall health and self-well-being. Below are a few tips on how you can incorporate physical activity into your daily routines:
- Spend about ½ to an hour walking or exercising each day. Walk a dog after work or during lunch break if you’re working from home, take the stairs instead of the elevator, play with your kids after work, play a sport like tennis during your free time.
- Start a walking program (start with 10-15 minutes each day when starting, and increase to 30 minutes as you get used)
- Stand or walk when you are on the phone, make it a rule that phone time is activity time.
- Park your car further away (at a bit long distance from your office or store), this will give you a chance to walk.
- When watching TV, use the commercial breaks to walk around. Make it a rule that when it’s commercial time on the TV, it’s your break time from the TV, use that time to walk around and stretch.
- Do not hire someone to do the house chores, do it yourself. By doing the chores around the house, you are actually keeping active.
- Join the group classes, like Zumba or yoga
- Just being active in your life is very important, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go outside and sweat.
Some workouts that can be done from your home, and require little or no special equipment include:
- jumping ropes and jumping jacks
- push-ups, squats
- walking, jogging, or running – owning a treadmill can also be helpful especially during winter or the days you feel like going outside. But, before making any purchase, it is important to do research to find out what type of treadmill is best for a home gym. Buying a workout tracking device like Fitbit to track your progress can help you to set your goals and stay motivated.
- guided programs can also help you with the routine, especially if you have never monitored your physical activities before.
- Fitness DVDs or virtual classes are also a great way to exercise and stay motivated
- weightlifting with home objects (e.g., water containers, bags of rice, or even some heavy books or weights).
Dangers of living a sedentary or inactive lifestyle
Many of our jobs have become more sedentary or inactive, as they involve a lot of sitting on the desk. Apart from that, we are mostly sitting in the car, and bus or train, and when we get home, we are mostly sitting, watching TV or relaxing. This kind of lifestyle is called a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle is one that involves a lot of sitting and lying down, with very little to no exercise or physical activity.
A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, over-weight, heart disease, etc. An inactive lifestyle also weakens your immune system, and it also causes poor posture.
Therefore, it is very important to remember that a healthy lifestyle helps us to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. And all it takes is a little time and effort every day. So, it’s high time you started engaging yourself in physical activities daily.
Any time you are working to get your heart rate up, it is called physical activity!
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