Physical Activity...Why it's so Important and How to Get More
You’ve heard it all before…Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. And yet, half of adults don’t get enough physical activity! So, let’s take a look at how amazingly healthy it really is!
What is physical activity? Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by the skeletal muscles that requires an energy expenditure above a basic level.
During physical activity, your heart rate goes up, pumping more oxygen into the brain. This promotes brain cell growth and stimulates new neural connections. Physical activity also causes the brain to release hormones that reduce stress and make you feel happy. Over time, regular physical activity can improve your cognition, reduce your risk of depression and anxiety, and improve your sleep.
Physical activity benefits your body in a myriad of ways. It can strengthen your heart, improve circulation, increase bone and muscle strength, and help you maintain a healthy weight. It can also improve balance and coordination, which makes daily activities easier and helps prevents falls.
Want to avoid the following diseases and health conditions? Regular physical activity can help reduce your risk of:
Type 2 Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
Many cancers (including bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung, and stomach cancers)
Did you know that physical activity can help forestall many causes of death? It’s true! In fact, research has shown that few lifestyle choices have the same power to delay death as much as physical activity. Conversely, physical inactivity has been proven to contribute to many diseases and health conditions.
Physical activity is important, but it’s even more important to stay safe while doing it. Contact your doctor or health care team to find out what kind of activity is right for you.
Are you convinced yet? Physical activity can improve your mental, emotional, and physical health, so get up and move!
20 Ways to Get More Steps in Each Day
In parking lots, choose a spot far from the door.
Try "walking" meetings instead of traditional seated ones.
Instead of catching up with a friend over coffee, take a walk with them.
Stay properly hydrated--proper hydration can increase endurance and prevent muscle fatigue.
When watching TV, keep your phone and remote far from you, so that you'll have to walk to get them every time you want to text or change the channel.
Walk around the room while watching TV.
Every hour, take a lap around the house or office building or go up and down a flight of stairs.
Take a post-meal walk.
Wake up early and get your steps in while you have energy and motivation.
Walk a lap around the grocery store or mall before beginning you shopping.
Instead of using the phone, walk over to you coworker's desk.
Walk the dog or offer to walk your neighbor's dog.
Get off the bus one stop sooner than you normally would.
Always opt for the stairs instead of the elevator.
Instead of using the drive-thru, park and walk in.
Go for daily walks with the kids or a walking buddy.
Play tag with your kids.
Walk around while chatting on the phone.
When getting your mail, take a walk up and down the block first or take a lap around the house.
Make more than one trip to bring your shopping bags or groceries into the house.