Moderate-intensity aerobic activities, like brisk walking, are generally safe for most people, yet so many of us are inactive. Why is this so? With the advances of modern technology (cars, washing machines, dishwashers, remote control televisions, computers, and etc.), we have less time each day to break a sweat. We have sadly become more and more lethargic and complacent in today’s society, especially where taking care of ourselves is concerned. Physical activity patterns are set early in life. It may take creativity to change them and determination to maintain them, if you are currently inactive. Maybe you think your schedule is too busy for you to exercise, then pencil it in your date book, hire a qualified personal trainer, go to a group exercise class, do something. Our health and wellness needs to be a priority!
I do not think people realize just how dangerous sedentary lifestyles are. Weight gain, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancers, and osteoarthritis are just some of the conditions brought on by being a couch potato.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you go out and run a mile today. If you are sedentary and all of a sudden do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity you are putting yourself at increased risk for having a heart attack. That is why it is important to start slowly and gradually increase your level of activity.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most or all days of the week. The good news is these 30 minutes can be broken into 10 or 15 intervals two to three times a day. C’mon people, that’s not a lot to ask of our bodies. The health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt, but if you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes talk with your physician to find out if your condition limits your ability to be active.
Tips To Help Get You Started Today
1. Set realistic small goals and gradually increase the time, frequency, and duration. Please don’t try too much too soon, you may injury yourself.
2. Ask a friend or family member to join you.
3. Go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood, high school track, or walk around your house carefully adding in the stairs.
4. Don’t forget resistance and flexibility training.
5. Choose activities that you enjoy, something that causes you to break a sweat.
6. Keep an exercise log. Tracking your progress can be very motivating.
7. Go to a beginner yoga class.
8. Speak kindly to yourself, you CAN do it.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a qualified fitness professional.
10. Get moving now!