August Blog – Nutrition and Fitness
August – Nutrition and Fitness
Exercise: it’s never too late
Regular physical activity is related to improved mental and physical well-being. Recent research indicates that:
- active, physically fit individuals do not react to difficult situations with as much stress as inactive people
- regular exercise programs have been found to prevent, and reduce, symptoms of disease – these include reduced risk of heart disease, low back pain, depression, and osteoporosis, to mention only a few
- an active lifestyle improves sleep, mood, sexual activity, and self-esteem by increasing energy, facilitating weight loss, and providing for greater social contact
- aerobic exercise improves endurance and cardiovascular health while non-aerobic activities enhance flexibility and strength
Physical activity need not be strenuous to be of benefit. Indeed, all of us have many opportunities to become more active in our daily routine. Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Walk to the store instead of driving. Use a push lawn mower instead of a power lawn mower (or hiring your neighbor’s child). It’s never too late to become active. If you are already active, keep at it. If you are not, start!
Tips for developing an exercise program:
- Get a physical
Before starting, ask your physician about any limitations on your activity.
- Pick the right activities
The biggest challenge is keeping at it. Pick activities that you really enjoy. Ideally, alternate between aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise (in which your heart rate accelerates into a target range for 20 minutes or more) and anaerobic exercise (such as weight training or yoga).
- Variety helps
Pick more than one activity and alternate them. Include at least one thing you can do when the weather is poor, and have ideas for both summer and winter. Experiment. If you haven’t tried something before, give it a shot (but use caution to avoid beginner injuries). Remind yourself that if you don’t like it you can switch to something else.
- Stretch first
Learn how to do stretching exercises properly, then make sure to do them before each exercise session. This can help reduce the likelihood of exercise-related pain or injury.
- Exercise with a friend
Or make new friends when you exercise. This will increase your motivation and enjoyment of your activities.
- Frequency is more important than duration
Regular short periods of exercise (3 or 4 times a week) are better than irregular long periods.
- Focus on enjoyment
Some research shows that people who exercise for enjoyment and challenge seem to show stronger mood improvements than people who exercise mainly to look better. Try to put an emphasis on how you will feel rather than how you want to look.
- Nothing changes overnight
Use goal setting when developing a fitness program, and be sure to pick something achievable. For example, aim to swim once for 5 minutes rather than starting off by committing yourself to 70 laps a day.
Ask Your Pharmacist
Question: I’d like to start exercising but what if I’m too busy to get in an hour of exercise a day?
Answer: The good news is that you don’t have to do it all at once. All types and any duration of physical activity that you can fit into your day counts and can help refuel your energy and enhance your sense of well-being. Try taking 5 minutes every hour to get up and move. Take a walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, march in place while you watch TV, pull weeds in the garden or dance while you’re tidying the house. These small bouts of activity add up and as you start feeling the positive benefits, you may decide to make more time to enjoy longer exercise sessions. Your pharmacist can help you get started with increasing physical activity and with managing your weight.
Do you have more questions? Speak with your Pharmasave pharmacist.
Having fun is not only enjoyable, it is good for you. Although you may have many priorities in your life, by taking time for those things that you enjoy, you build your own strength, boost your self-esteem and give yourself a chance to “blow off” some of life’s stresses. Make sure you schedule some time in your day that is just for your enjoyment.
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