Regardless of your age, gender, or status, you need exercise to stay fit and healthy. Exercise helps the brain and body in several ways making it an important part of our daily activities. Indeed, no other factor has been as consistently linked to better health than exercise.
Why is staying physically active so important? Consider a few reasons:
First, it protects us from several diseases including stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and cancers. A very recent study published in JAMA Internal medicine revealed that a high level of physical activity may protect from several cancers such as breast, lung, endometrial and many gastrointestinal cancers. Indeed, many unhealthy conditions such as back pain and obesity are best prevented with regular exercise.
Second, exercises help us to achieve or maintain body weight. Do you want to lose weight? Are you worried about increasing weight? This is difficult to achieve through diet restrictions only. It’s been suggested that exercise contributes more to sustaining weight loss goals than diet. Additionally, it helps to strengthen bones and muscles. We all need muscles to lift items at home get work done and prepare for sudden or life threatening events that call for an immediate physical response.
Third, exercise is mentally refreshing. Do you sometimes feel uptight, tense or stressed up? Are you finding it difficult to get a good night’s sleep? Enjoy the relief and refreshing benefits of exercise. This is because exercise unleashes brain chemicals that calm you down.
How much exercise do you really needed?
Experts have recommended that children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity every day. Adults should get 150 minutes of moderate activity (it should make you sweat) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week. Aerobic exercise should be combined with moderate weight training and calisthenics helps to strengthen your bones, internal muscles, and limbs. Consistency is the key. Never give room to prolonged periods of inactivity.
Sadly, many people find it difficult to exercise daily. According to some surveys (Promoting physical activities: A Guide for Community Action), common reasons include time, low motivation, access to gyms or personal trainers, doubts about its benefits, challenges in making it fun, fear of being enjoyed.
Are you finding it difficult to stay physical active? Why not consider the following suggestions for overcoming 5 common barriers sustaining physical fitness:
‘I don’t have enough time’
Are you always under pressure time wise? In order to meet the recommended exercise regimen, why not reassess your weekly schedule for periods that can be allocated to physical activities. Some have found that engaging in exercises early in the morning -before becoming too busy- works for them. You may also blend physical activities with other things. For instance, don’t just sit to watch TV or listen to music- move, shake or fidget too! This is far better than trying to make up for periods of inactivity by engaging in intense exercises. Many physical activities at home involve moderate exertion e.g. chores, gardening, cleaning and so on. If you are at home with kids, you can also play running or ball games…which are really fun!
‘I just don’t feel like exercising’
Writing down your thoughts, feelings about exercising will help you identify why you feel this way. Assess your current health needs. Try meditating on how exercise could improve your health. Like meals, scheduling physical activities may help us develop more interest in it. So plan ahead and stick to your schedule. Don’t just ask yourself if you want to exercise. Just do it.
‘I find exercise boring’ ‘It’s just not fun’
You can also look for an exercise buddy or join a group to make it fun. Some fitness apps have online communities. Find those with similar exercise goals, exchange ideas and get peer support. Develop hobbies and interests that promote moving e.g. dancing. You can also combine what you love e.g. reading with other physical activities.
‘What if I get injured?’ ‘I don’t know how to do it’
To avoid injuries, know how to warm up and cool down. You may need to review your age, fitness levels and health status with a health professional. Many older persons exercise regularly with great benefits.
‘I can’t afford a personal trainer’
Go for activities that are easy to follow and inexpensive. Walk, Walk, Walk! You don’t need a gym membership to walk, jog, climb stairs and skip rope. Have you considered using fitness apps? Some apps are very popular, user friendly and free to download. They monitor and help develop individualized fitness programs like personal trainers.
According to an expert, “If exercise were a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world.” According to a recent study, even fidgeting while sitting reduces the risk of early death. So, every move counts! Overcome these barriers to exercise today and reap immense health benefits.
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