May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.
Being active throughout your life leads to improved muscular fitness and good bone and heart health in children and adolescents, lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer in adults and in older adults can lower risk of falls and improve cognitive function. Those are just a few of the benefits. Other benefits can include better health overall, stress relief, weight loss or maintenance, living longer, increased social interactions, increased flexibility, and being happier in general.
Being active is different for everyone. For some it’s an all or nothing workout that they have been doing for years. For others it could be an hour per day a couple of days a week at the gym, walking or running daily or several times a week. Others still may spend their active time playing with the kids or grandkids at the park, riding bikes or just getting out of the house for a walk once in a while. Of course, generally speaking, the more you do the better it is for your health, but any movement is better than none. Gardening, housework, laundry, strolling with a friend to the end of the block or better yet around it can be beneficial to those that have a shortage of time or a lack of inclination to do a more intense workout or exercise regimen.
Physical activity is for everyone, no matter what shape you are in, there are activities that can work for you and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. If you are currently not moving as much as you should be or at all, start slow. Consider small changes to begin with and encourage family and friends to join you. Ask them to go for a walk after dinner or for a bike ride. You could do simple stretches at home or get small weights or exercise bands if you aren’t able to get out. Start slow, don’t give up.
Are you a little more active? Try raising the bar a bit and doing something else in addition to you regular routine. Increase the pace or distance of your walk\run. Put on the music and dance, by yourself or with those that won’t laugh too hard at your “awesome” dance moves. Make plans and take the kids or grandkids to the pool. Adult recommendations for physical activities is moderate aerobic activity for 2 and 1/2 hours per week. Are you there yet?
As the adult, setting a good example for the children in your life helps to set them up for better health for life. Involve and include them in your activity. Invite them to participate and do things they enjoy doing as well. When we call activity play, it becomes fun. When we call it exercise, it becomes work.
As with any big lifestyle change, consult your physician if your health is not good before beginning any fitness plan.
This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.