Tips on How to Stay Active in Daily Life and Why It Matters for Your Health
Heart attack, obesity, anxiety, diabetes — these are just a few of the health conditions that can be prevented or improved with the right amount of physical activity.
It would be almost impossible to overstate the importance of physical activity when it comes to your physical and mental wellbeing, which is why the team here at Quick Doc is focusing on this important subject here.
We know that it’s all well and good to simply say, “Exercise more,” but we want to expand on this a little to provide you with motivation and easy-to-implement tips.
The human body is designed for a specific ratio of rest and activity and operates best when this ratio is balanced. Unfortunately, modern lives have become increasingly sedentary, and we’re simply not moving enough, which places you at far greater risk for:
More than 40% of adults in the US have obesity, which is largely fueled by poor diet and lack of exercise. Carrying too much weight places you at far greater risk for some very health conditions, some of which we review below.
We want to highlight two statistics: 1) Nearly half of adults in the United States have cardiovascular disease, and 2) 90% of heart disease is preventable.
Exercise tops the prevention list for heart disease, which keeps your heart muscle strong and your blood vessels free from plaque buildup.
Your joints are made to move, but if you’re not active and carrying extra pounds, your joints can easily succumb to osteoarthritis. Getting up and moving is one of the best remedies to avoid joint pain and inflammation.
One of the best ways to prevent a diabetes diagnosis (as well as better manage existing diabetes) is to exercise. Through physical activity, you can combat waist fat, lower your blood pressure, and balance your cholesterol levels, all of which can better regulate your blood sugar levels.
Beyond these health conditions (and there are many more), physical activity can help greatly with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, as well as better overall brain health.
Get up and moving
The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity. If you’re starting from a low physical activity level, these numbers may sound daunting, but they’re really quite easy to accomplish.
First, when we say physical activity, we mean exercise, as well as other activities that get your heart rate up, such as cleaning the house or gardening. With this in mind, you can jumpstart your physical activity by taking a daily walk around your neighborhood for about 20 minutes and rolling up your sleeves around the house.
The key to any physical activity is to get your heart rate to a point where you’re breathing heavily but not gasping for air.
Some great tips for successfully adding physical activity to your day include:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
- Don’t look for the closest parking spot, but one farthest from where you’re going
- Enlist a friend for a walk once or twice a week
- Enroll in an online class – it can be yoga, pilates, dancing, etc.
- Try something new, such as the increasingly popular pickleball
It’s very helpful if you make your physical activity a social one, allowing you to get fit and have fun at the same time.
We also recommend using your smartphone or a wearable fitness device to help keep you on track. Most phones have fitness apps built right in, making tracking your activity levels a snap.
These tips are only the tip of the iceberg, and we’re happy to sit down with you during your primary care visit to design a great physical activity plan that caters to your goals and interests. To get started, contact our office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.