Let’s Get Active!

Published June 20, 2022

Spring and summer bring sunshine, warmer weather, lush green lawns, and plenty of opportunity to be more active. Let’s take a look at why physical activity is so important to your entire well-being.

Why is physical activity or exercise so important?

A lack of physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death. People who are not routinely active have a 20%-30% higher risk of death than those who exercise regularly. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes are all made worse by a lack of physical activity.

The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates:

  • 50% of Americans have a preventable chronic disease
  • 70% of those chronic diseases are influenced by physical activity

Imagine reducing your risk factors simply by eating a well-balanced diet and increasing your daily physical activity!!

How do I get started increasing my physical activity?

Take the first step. Literally. Just get up and start moving. If you’re well enough, taking a simple walk around the block is a great first step. The goal, is to engage regularly in moderate physical activity. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Walking briskly
  • Bicycling
  • General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs)
  • Dancing
  • Golf (walking and carrying your clubs)
  • Water aerobics
  • Tennis

The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that for optimal health, you strive for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity exercise each week. That’s roughly 20 minutes per day. Not as hard as you thought, is it?

How will I know if I’m exercising enough?

There are plenty of benefits of exercise and the goal is to start slow and work your way up. You don’t want to cause an injury right from the start. As you begin to exercise regularly, you’ll find your workouts become more enjoyable. You’ll also notice:

  • Increased energy
  • Improvements in mood
  • Reduced stress
  • You may experience some weight loss

Other benefits that may not be immediately visible include: increased bone, muscle, heart and lung function; a decreased risk of developing chronic disease; and better management of existing chronic disease.

What can I do to be successful in developing and sticking to a routine?

Find a workout buddy. This is someone who will cheer you on – and you can do the same for them. Consider family and friends, a neighbor, or maybe even a co-worker who will take a walk with you during your lunch break.

Start small. Maybe plan for 2 – 3 brisk walks per week. If you’re goals are too big at the beginning, you may be frustrated trying to reach them when you aren’t quite in condition for them. The goal is DON’T GIVE UP! You’ll get stronger and faster each day.

Opt for an active “date night” or “girls night out.” Consider a bike ride on a pretty trail or a hike through a local park instead of dinner and a movie.

It’s OK if you don’t have time for a 30-minute workout. Do three 10-minute sessions throughout the day. Your objective is to move; to be active; to challenge yourself every day and work toward a goal of lifelong good health.

Any risks?

It’s always a good idea to check in with your primary health care provider before beginning any physical activity program. Our Telehealth services are a great way to check in and discuss your health goals with your provider.

If you’re pregnant or have any chronic medical conditions, then it’s even more important that you schedule a time to talk with your provider before beginning any physical activity regimen. This includes conditions like: hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, among others. If you have any history of chest pain, racing heart rate, or shortness of breath, definitely talk with your healthcare provider prior to beginning any exercise program.

That’s all there is to it: 20-30 minutes of moderate-level activity every day can make a significant difference in your health and overall wellbeing. Added benefits include enjoying the warm weather and scenery. You can get to know your neighbors better by taking regular walks through the neighborhood. You’ll probably sleep better thanks to the increased activity, and you may shed some of those extra pounds.

Let’s get moving!