The Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
Living an active life is
important to staying healthy. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, staying active helps to reduce your risk
- heart disease
You don’t have to be a distance
runner to improve your health. The most important thing is that you’re staying
active. It helps just to:
- give your heart a workout
- stay strong
- try to maintain a healthy weight
Tips for Maintaining an Active Lifestyle
The trick to staying active is to
find something you enjoy doing. For some, that means having a friend to
exercise with. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to the gym or walking
around the block. Others prefer to dance along to an aerobics DVD in private or
go for a quiet bike ride.
It can be hard to find your
workout style. It can help to mix it up every once in a while. You may find
that you like trying something new. Fortunately, no matter who you are, there
are some simple things you can do to get and stay active.
Take It Slow
Haven’t been active in several
years? Start out slow. Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise
program. There may be precautions you should take.
In general, you’ll want to start
out with sessions of only five or 10 minutes. You can gradually increase the
length of your sessions over time.
Get Your 30
Your goal for physical activity
should be 30 minutes each day. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, three 10-minute sessions are just as good
as one longer session. For example, you could do:
- 10 minutes of dancing before work
- a 10-minute walk around the parking lot
- a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood
as soon as you get home
Of course, more exercise is
better. However, take precautions to avoid injuries such as muscle strain. It’s
better to work out a little less one day if it will help you do it again the
Pump Some Iron
You don’t just need aerobic
exercise. Resistance training or weight lifting is also important. This type of
exercise helps strengthen your bones and improve your balance and coordination.
This reduces your risk for osteoporosis. It also helps prevent injuries or
Not sure how to get started? Hire
a trainer for a onetime session. If you jot down the routine, you can refer to
Mix It Up
Many gyms and community centers
offer free classes with a monthly membership. Take advantage of those
opportunities. You may get to experience some of the newest and hottest fitness
trends. You never know what you might fall in love with next.
Mind Your Money
You can get a great workout at
home for just pennies. Fitness DVDs are a great way to exercise.. Many local
libraries also lend out exercise DVDs. Checking out different DVDs can be a
great way to find new types of exercise you like.
Another option is to tune in to a
fitness show broadcast on TV. Exercise shows are also available on the
Other home-friendly workouts that
require little or no special equipment include:
- walking or jogging
- jumping rope
- weight training with found objects (bags
of beans, a heavy book, a water bottle)
- jumping jacks
Stretching after a workout should
always be part of your routine. Stretching improves flexibility and range of
motion. It may also cut your risk of injury or muscle cramps. Finally,
stretching improves circulation throughout the body.
If you need guidance on the best
ways to stretch, ask a trainer for a quick tutorial.