By Vishal Mehta, BPharm, RPh
We hear time and time again that regular physical activity is good for your health and quality of life. But what specifically are the benefits and how to get started?
Some benefits to brain health can occur immediately following a session of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Improved thinking or cognition in younger children and reduced short-term anxiety can occur in adults. Regular physical activity can improve learning and judgement skills and reduce the risk of depression or anxiety.
Physical activity along with eating habits play a critical role in body weight management. Your body weight is a product of the calories we consume by ingestion and the calories we burn through physical activity. To maintain your weight, it is recommended to have at least 2.5 hours of weekly physical activity. This can be split into short, manageable sessions throughout the week.
Being more active can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke. Regular physical activity can lower your blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels. The risk is also reduced for other chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer and osteoporosis.
To help get started, aim for short regular sessions of activity throughout the week. 30 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity five times a week gets you to your weekly recommended target.
- Getting into a regular routine helps. Go to a pool, hit the gym, or go for a regular run. Having company helps make it more social and keeps you motivated.
- Limit time spent sitting in front of the TV or computer during leisure time. Every step counts toward meeting your activity target.
- To help get stronger, try to add activities that target your muscles and bones at least two days per week.