Today is a great day to get moving to improve your health. Did you know that less than half of adults get the amount of physical activity they need? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least 2½ hours of moderate physical activity a week. (“Moderate” physical activity means exerting the amount of energy one would use when walking at a brisk pace.) While exercising regularly may not be at the top of your priority list, it certainly should be important to you. Not only is regular physical activity beneficial for your health, but not getting enough exercise may actually increase your risk of many serious health conditions.
One of the more obvious health benefits of exercise is weight management. Physical activity burns calories which can help you maintain your weight and promote weight loss. Weight control and obesity prevention aren’t the only major health benefits of exercise, however. Regular physical activity can also help prevent and manage a number of diseases and health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. According to Mayo Clinic, “no matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or ‘good,’ cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.”
Regular activity also helps boost your mood. Exercise increases the production of certain chemicals in your brain that may increase feelings of happiness and relaxation. Exercising regularly may also make you feel better about yourself and the way you look, which can boot confidence and self-esteem. These feel good chemicals can also reduce your risk of depression and can help improve overall mental health.
If the idea of adding exercise to your already exhausting daily routine seems daunting, fear not. Regular physical activity actually boots your strength, endurance, and energy. According to Mayo Clinic, “Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.” Thus, regular activity will actually increase your ability to tackle your mile-long to do list. Additionally, exercise can also help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper, allowing you to feel more rested. Just be sure not to exercise right before going to sleep, as the energy boosting effects of exercise will make it hard to fall asleep.
Exercise’s mood, self-esteem, and weight loss boosting effects can also have a positive effect on your sex life states a Mayo Clinic staff member. Additionally, “Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.”
Many people have serious misconceptions about exercise that keep them from getting active. Exercise does not have to boring, difficult, complicated, or even particularly strenuous. Instead, it can be a fun way to spend time outdoors, interact with friends, or try something new. The best way to stick to a regular exercise routine is to find an activity you love. Going for a walk with a friend, for example, is a great way to increase your activity level in a way that you enjoy. The following are a few more ideas for getting active (with links for ideas of where you can do so in Kalamazoo, MI).
- Join a local running group: http://kalamazooarearunners.org/get-involved/become-a-member/
- Take a dance class: http://kzdancesport.com/
- Go for a hike: http://www.michigandnr.com/publications/pdfs/wildlife/viewingguide/slp/94Kalamazoo/trails.htm
- Join a sports league: http://www.kalamazoocity.org/portal/sports.php
- Play a game of tennis: http://www.westhillsathletic.com/tennis
- Take a Zumba class: http://www.zumba.com/parties/search/address:Kalamazoo%2C+MI%2C+USA/distance:25/lat:42.2917069/lng:-85.5872286/search:1/unit:m/
- Join a gym: http://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=gyms&find_loc=Kalamazoo%2C+MI
Out of the 168 hours in a week, don’t you think it’s worth taking just 30 minutes a day to do something that’s going to improve your health, boost your mood, and give you more energy to manage your busy life? Take the time today to get moving!