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Some Ideas On How to Be More Physically Active

Sep 25, 2013 9:27:00 AM

Research shows that those who are physically active are likely to live longer, healthier lives.

cross country skiing in mont tendre 930964 mThe benefits of physical activity include:

  • Weight maintenance
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved glucose regulation
  • Stronger bone density

Also, a person who has hypertension, diabetes or a history of smoking can greatly benefit from including regular physical activity into his or her daily routine.

The First Step

If you are over 40 years of age, are inactive or have health issues, consult a physician before you begin an exercise program.

A Complete Program

There are three main components to a well-balanced program of physical activity: aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility training.

Commitment to a regular physical activity program is more important than the intensity of your workouts. Choose exercises you are likely to pursue and enjoy, such as:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Stair climbing
  • Biking
  • Rowing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Swimming

Healthy aerobic training should be performed three to five days per week for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. Remember, if your schedule is tight, it is better to exercise for a shorter period of time than not at all.

Strength training is another option. Strength training should be done two to three times per week, and is performed with free weights or weight machines.

For the purposes of general training, two to three upper body and lower body exercises should be done. Abdominal exercises are an important part of strength training as well.

Flexibility training is important too, but is frequently neglected, resulting in increased tightness as you age and becoming less active. Stretching is most safely done with sustained gradual movements lasting a minimum of 15 seconds per stretch. At a minimum, strive to stretch every day.

Many Canadians report getting little to no leisure time due to long work hours and household responsibilities. As a result, obesity is becoming more of a trigger for health problems and increased health spending than smoking or drinking.  Canadians should be aware of these dangers. 

Rob Stevenson

Written by Rob Stevenson


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