When we were kids, we could play from morning ‘til night, never seeming to get tired. But as bodies aged, energy waned, and for many of us, physical activity also lessened.
And that’s too bad, because even aging bodies can profit immensely from activity. Exercise has many proven benefits: it’s good for your heart and circulatory system, lungs, immune system, weight, longevity, and more.
Sometimes the prospect of exercise may seems like a drag. But once you pull yourself off the couch and start doing it, your brain begins releasing pleasurable neurotransmitters that make you feel good. And of course, you also get the pleasure afterward of having done something beneficial for your health.
Types of exercises vary. For most of us, aerobic exercise like jogging, biking, or swimming is definitely heart healthy. Strength training firms up the muscles and is good for bones. Flexibility exercise helps stretch muscles and fosters freedom of movement. Balancing exercise promotes good balance and prevents falls. American Heart Association
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense in order to be beneficial. Moderate regular exercise has positive health effects. Such exercise could include 20 to 30 minutes a day of walking, yoga, stretching, or swimming—whatever physical activities you can easily incorporate into your daily life. It’s important to try to develop a regular schedule, and if possible include several kinds of exercise in your sessions.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, including some stretching and flexibility exercises and some strength exercise at least two days a week. But remember: Some exercise is almost always better than none! So if you feel 150 minutes per week is more than you want to take on, you can begin somewhere and then try to work up to the 150 minutes or more.
Of course, it’s always important to first check with your doctor before beginning any exercise plan. He or she will likely have some good advice about what exercises are proper for you given your physical condition.
I hope your doctor and you will be able to come up with a good plan that’s designed specifically for you. And that you then get active!
Until next time, be well