July 24 is a day when you should pause and think about what you are doing to stay healthy, prevent illness, or cope with a condition. This year the focus is on feeling good 7/24 – seven days a week, 24 hours a day, so this week we will review some evidenced based things that you can do to feel good every day – Todays Topic – Getting Active to #FeelGood7/24
According to the Conference Board of Canada, the majority of Canadians are only moderately active, or the equivalent of walking 30 minutes three times a week. The World Health Organizations (WHO) recommends that for good health adults age 18-64 should be moderately active for 150 minutes per week or vigorously active for at least 75 minutes per week or any equivalent combination. WHO also recommends that adults should do muscle-strengthening involving major muscle groups on two or more days a week.
Benefits of physical activity
The benefits of being physically active are well documented and include reduced heart disease, blood-pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer and depression. In fact, research indicates that those who were physically active were 50% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease and if you walk two hours per week you reduce the incidence of premature death of 39%–54%. Other studies found a 30-40% reduction in the risk of colon cancer among physically active men and women and a 20-30% reduction in breast cancer among physically active women. Physical activity also helps achieve weight maintenance, healthier body mass index, and as we age, physical activity helps us maintain muscle strength and balance. It is also important to note that even low amounts of leisure-time physical activity of 92 minutes per week are associated with increased life expectancy of three years and a 14% reduction in mortality.
5 simple ways to improve your physical activity
So if you want to increase your physical activity to improve your health here are a few steps you can take:
Walking or using a manual wheelchair for 30 minutes a day is a great start. To improve the fitness level ensure you are moving briskly, but you are still able to carry on a conversation. Start slow and adjust your pace over time. Invite your friends to join you at lunch to make it even more enjoyable. Stepping away from your desk is also beneficial for your mental health and creativity at work.
Lifting weights or using resistance bands two times a week to improve your muscular strength. Before you start, check with your doctor to get advice on how best to introduce this into your fitness routine and try to exercise all of your major muscle groups if you are able including your legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulder and arms.
Check out your local community centre to see what activities they have to offer. Often community centres provide a variety of activities at low cost including swimming, sports, fitness classes and aquatic fitness classes.
Plan and make time for your physical activity. It is essential that you know when, where and what you will do to get more physically active. Writing it down or setting a schedule will help you keep on track. You can also use this schedule as a way to track your physical fitness improvements.
You will be more likely to stay physically active if you choose activities that you enjoy, so try a few different types of activities and have fun.
Note: the Public Health Agency of Canada has created this Physical Activity Guide for Healthy Living