(Photo credited: www.lookhealthy.org)
Do you wish to be fitter and maintain a healthy weight? Do you want to feel and look more confident? Get active! It is the answer to a more energetic and healthy you.
Everyone can be physically active. All it takes is finding some activities that you enjoy and making them part of your daily routine. Doing a little physical activity every day will improve your quality of life.
Why should I get active?
When you get active, your overall health and wellbeing will improve and you will enjoy a good quality of life. Regular physical activity:
- Gives you more energy
- Promotes mental health by reducing stress and anxiety
- Promotes heart and lung fitness
- Prevents falls by keeping bones and muscles strong
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Prevents and controls diabetes
It also reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. It will also make you more confident to face life’s challenges.
What exactly is physical activity?
Physical activity is simply any activity that gets your body moving. This includes daily activities such as taking the stairs, walking to the supermarket and doing housework. It also includes recreational activities and sports such as jogging, swimming, cycling, brisk walking, ball games and racket games.
For health benefits, you need to engage in aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activity.
Aerobic activity makes your heart beat faster and makes you breathe harder over a prolonged period of time as the muscles in your body require oxygen to work. This improves your heart and lung (cardiovascular) fitness and your endurance. Brisk walking, jogging and swimming are examples of aerobic activities.
Muscle-strengthening activity work different major muscle groups in the legs, hip, back, abdomen, shoulders and arms, making your muscles stronger and more resilient. Strengthening muscles and joints can also reduce the risk of injury to your body. Examples are doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (e.g. push ups, pull ups, sit ups and squats), working with resistance bands and weight training.
Muscle strengthening exercise should include performing 8-10 exercises of all the major muscle groups, consisting of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise.
How much physical activity should I be doing?
A healthy adult is recommended to engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity in a week.
These 150 minutes of aerobic activity can also be a accumulation of different combinations of periods of exercise throughout the week.
You should also engage in muscle-strengthening activity on 2 or more days a week.
Who should get active?
The simple answer is – everyone! Research shows that any amount of exercise, at any age, is beneficial. The more physical activity you engage in, the more health benefits that you stand to gain. No one is too old to enjoy the benefits that regular physical activity can bring.
Conditions such as high blood cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure become more prevalent as we grow older. Spending time on physical activity will reap health benefits for adults of all ages.
Physical activity is important for children too. Exercise helps children build healthy bones, muscles, and develop a healthy mind. They will also be able to sleep better at night and are more ready to learn in school if they are physically active.
So how do I start getting active?
If you are just getting started on physical activity, keep your goals simple and realistic. Setting achievable short-term goals will help you stay focused and motivated. And if you have not been physically active, find a physical activity that you enjoy and start small and start slow.
Aim to engage in that physical activity, be it brisk walking or jogging, for 10 minutes a day, three times a week when you are just getting started. For example, you can start by walking to the supermarket, or the MRT instead of taking the feeder bus services. Over time, build up the intensity and duration of your physical activity. You will soon realise that you are able to make regular physical activity a part of an active lifestyle. You will feel the difference as you gain better health and have more energy to enjoy life.
So don’t wait – start getting active today!
(Health article credited to Health Promotion Board)
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