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Health Benefits of Physical Activity

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Health Benefits of Physical Activity

What kinds of exercises and physical activities should you do to improve your health and your physical ability?
The health benefits of physical activity has been documented many times in health journals and scientific studies. Even if you just take a short walk it can improve you wellbeing. I will list four types of activities that you can do, which can be fun and beneficial at the same time.

Exercises generally fall into four main categories. I will be describing them separately, but some activities actually fit into several categories. For example, many endurance activities also help build strength, and strength exercises can help improve your balance.

Endurance:
Endurance, or aerobic exercises, increase your breathing and heart rate. These activities help keep you healthy, improve your fitness, and help you do the tasks you need to do every day.

Endurance exercises improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. They can also delay or prevent many diseases that are common in older adults such as diabetes, colon and breast cancers, heart disease, and many others.

Physical activities that build endurance include:
• Brisk walking
• Yard work (mowing, raking)
• Climbing stairs or hills

Let’s make it fun:

Dancing couple

Dancing can be a fun activity to improve your health

• Jogging
• Swimming
• Playing tennis
• Playing basketball

biking couple

Biking can be fun

Strength:

Even small increases in your muscle strength can make a big difference in your ability to stay independent and carry out everyday activities such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. Some people call using weight to improve your muscle strength “strength training” or “resistance training.”

 

Strength exercises include:
• Lifting weights
• Resistance bands

Balance:
Balance exercises can help you prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises will also improve your balance.

Exercises to improve your balance include:
• Standing on one foot
• Heel-to-toe walk
• Tai Chi

Flexibility:
Stretching can help your body stay flexible and limber, which gives you more freedom of movement for your regular physical activity as well as for your everyday activities.

To increase your flexibility, try:
• Shoulder and upper arm stretch
• Calf stretch
• Yoga

Exercise and physical activity are good for your health. In addition, improving your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility can help you do many of your everyday activities. For example, endurance activities will make it easier for you to push your grandchildren on the swings, vacuum or rake leaves.

Flexibility, or stretching, exercises make it possible for you to look over your shoulder to see what’s behind you as you back the car out of the driveway, make the bed in the morning or bend over to tie your shoes.

Strength training can help maintain your ability to carry a full laundry basket from the basement to the second floor, carry your smaller grandchildren or lift bags of mulch in the garden.

Balance exercises can help you stand on tiptoe to reach something on the top shelf, walk up and down the stairs or walk on an uneven sidewalk without falling.

Here is something to help you get active.

So armed with all this information let’s get moving.

Pierre Schexneider M. Ed.

 

Pierre Schexneider

10 Comments

  1. Hi there thanks for posting this article that encapsulates what most average people need to do, including me at 64 years of age and retired now. I chose hiking for my hobby a long time ago, but I cannot get out much due to my city location in the centre of a very large city. I decided to build up my stamina for hiking using a treadmill. I do this twice a week using my backpack filled with 12kg of water. Set the treadmill on the highest setting to simulate hills and get going. For stretching I chose yoga and a patterns from a martial art similar to Tai Chi. Then once a month I get out hiking and find that my preparation allows me to enjoy hiking much more because I cope easily with my route.

    • Hi Allen, 

      Thank you for the comments, That is excellent advice for folks who live in the city and can also be used during inclement weather. 

      I am fortunate to have a gym near my home with an indoor track, that I visit 5 days a week in the early mornings, I walk a half a mile first then do some strength training on the machines then walk another mile on the indoor track.  

      This early morning routine kick starts the metabolism and keeps me going in the mornings, it also curbs my appetite which aids in losing weight. The weight lose in turn helps get pressure off of the joints and increases the ease of movement.       

  2. Thank you for sharing all these great useful tips! The market is full of supplements solutions, and only a few suggest natural pain relief.

    Wonderful reading! Thanks again for sharing 🙂

    • Thank you for the comment,it is my intention to share any information I can to benefit those who are suffering from any type of pain.
      Although sometimes it is beneficial to take supplements to enhance the results of physical activities or to detox.
      I would caution anyone to thoroughly research their effectiveness before indulging. Some supplement companies skimp on the quality of the ingredients to increase profits thus leaving the user with less effectiveness and thinking that the supplement didn’t work when in fact it could have if it would have been of higher quality.

  3. Hi, thanks so much for this delightful article on the health benefits of physical activity.

    I’m a big believer that physical activity can help you not only physically but mentally too.

    I injured my knee a while back and actually found that, through a regular routine of cycling, I significantly reduced the pain in my knee.

    Physical activity also has mental benefits that can relieve depression and anxiety. What do you think?

    • Hi Barb, Thank you for the comment. You are absolutely right not only does physical activity help relief pain but also your mental health as well. I just had a conversation with a gentleman at the gym this morning about that very thing.

      He told me that before his daughter get him to start doing physical activity he had no motivation to go to work. He said he couldn’t even put on shoes so he would go to work in crocs. Because of the pain he was feeling he was depressed and had no joy in life.

      Now he’s at the gym most every morning, he is feeling better, looking better and he gets to bond with his daughter by exercising together. It has improved his life.

      I also feel much better after doing physical activity, it gets the metabolism going, curbs the appetite, clears the brain fog and just get me going in the morning.    

  4. Thank you for your article. As I have learnt from painful experience – prevention is better than cure! and we all tend to think that old age is for other people not us! I now know the benefits of just 20 minutes of walking a day and using shopping as weights for my arms. Just little things that all add up.

    • Yes Jenene, even something as small as parking farther away from the supermarket and having to carry groceries back to the vehicle will help. Physical activity does not have to be strenuous, even older folks in pain can does some minor activity to improve their health.

  5. this is wonderful, I like the content, how you have elaborated it, I enjoyed, and I ll recommend this to my friends
    looking forward to read more of this kind

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