10 Keys For Healthy Living: Enjoy Activity
By: Phil Holleman
With the new year just around the corner, there are probably a lot of us who are thinking about changes we would like to make in the upcoming year.
I bet it’s safe to say one of those changes is getting more exercise. Sound familiar? It sure is for me. You know how it goes:
I’m really going to do it this time! I’m going to make the commitment and stick to it.
Congratulations to those who have made that commitment and stuck to it. I haven’t been one of you. My commitment has usually lasted a day, maybe two. I considered exercise to be work. I don’t do too well with work. I like doing things I enjoy. Therefore, I must find an ACTIVITY I will do on a regular basis.
We all know our bodies are made for activity, not sitting on our butts. In his book, 10 Keys To Create Wellness, Michael R. Ellison shares 20 major benefits of physical activity. It:
- Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease
- Reduces the risk of having a second heart attack in people who have already suffered one
- Decreases the risk of a stroke
- Decreases high blood pressure
- Relieves the pain of arthritis
- Correlates to fewer hospitalizations, physician visits, and medications
- Increases circulation, which speeds oxygen, nutrients, and water to the cells
- Enables the lymphatic system to function better, purging the body of built-up toxins that can lead to disease
- Triggers the brain to release health-giving hormones and enzymes that lift the spirit while bolstering the immune system
- Keeps joints more flexible
- Helps keep bones stronger
- Lowers total blood cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing “good” cholesterol levels
- Lowers the risk of developing non-insulin-dependent (Type 2) diabetes
- Helps maintain good muscle tone – a key to looking more youthful
- Helps a person handle stress better
- Improves sleep
- Helps the brain function with greater focus and concentration
- Assists in weight loss
- Assists in maintaining desired weight
- Builds physical stamina
That sure is a lot of good stuff. And, there’s an easy way to help produce those results: walking!
At a fast enough clip, walking can be an aerobic exercise that conditions our heart and lungs. Even at a moderate intensity, walking has short-term and long-term benefits. For those of us over 40, walking is better than trying to run or jog.
It’s easy to get started with a regular program. But, it’s tough to stick with it. Here’s what we can do to make walking a regular activity.
- Invest in a good pair of walking shoes. They should have thick, flexible soles that cushion the soles of the feet and absorb shock for the rest of the body.
- Start slowly. We should be able to talk while walking and our heart rate should return to normal within 10 minutes after we stop walking.
- Walk about the same time every day. Make walking a daily habit we will miss if we don’t do it.
- Increase our distance and speed over time. Warm up in the first minutes by walking slowly, then increasing speed. Decrease speed at the end to cool off.
- If we walk at dusk or early morning, we need to wear reflective clothing. Also, it’s important to walk against traffic so we can see what’s happening with vehicles coming toward us.
- Avoid hard or uneven surfaces. Cement or rough fields can lead to accidents or injuries. Been there, done that!
- Drink water before and after a vigorous walk.
- Ask a friend to walk with us. It’s safer and more fun.
- Don’t give up! When we don’t make our goal of distance or time, no big deal. There’s another day.
- Find a family member (preferably one we like) to join us if we can.
- Consider joining an exercise or walking group.
- Try new routes so we don’t get bored with the same old thing.
- Occasionally engage in another type of activity. Swimming is one of the most aerobic activities on the planet.
- Choose a comfortable time of day. It’s no fun if we try to do things when it’s too hot or cold.
- Wait about 20 minutes after a meal before engaging in moderate physical activity.
- Don’t compare ourselves to others. It’s not a contest, it’s about our wellness.
- Keep a log of our activity to help us stay motivated.
This is a lot of information to absorb, I know. But there’s good stuff we need to know about the myths of physical activity and more. Stay tuned, because we’ll get into that next time.
Yours in good health,
Phil Holleman spent over 11 years struggling with major depression. During that time, he learned how important it is to live a healthy life. He created ABoldNewLife.com to help others who are on their journey to wellness.
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