Times have changed. Years ago, our daily lives required tasks that were hard work, like chopping wood or hauling water. Today, modern technology and conveniences have made our lives much easier. We sit for much of the day: driving the car, working at a computer, and watching television.
Fifty-one per cent of adult Canadians are inactive. This is a problem. Many of us are no longer getting the exercise we need to stay healthy.
This article gives you four excellent reasons for becoming more active. You need to use your muscles and bones to improve your physical and mental health and enhance the quality of your life.
Reason #1: Do It for the Physical Health Benefits
Want to cut in half your chances of getting colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease? That’s what regular physical activity will do for you.
Regular activity reduces your risk of:
- high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease;
- Type 2 diabetes;
- colon cancer;
Being active will also
- give you more energy;
- improve your posture and balance;
- help you maintain a healthy weight
Reason #2: Do It for the Fun
Most people who dance, swim, play tennis, or go hiking do it because they like it! But having fun also benefits your health. Taking part in an activity that you enjoy will help you relax and reduce stress. It will also help you feel good about yourself. The end result? Improved mental health.
What activity appeals to you? It makes sense to find an activity that you enjoy doing by yourself or with others, because you are more likely to stick with it. Find out what opportunities there are in your community to try new activities and learn new skills.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be hard to be good for your body. You don’t have to sweat it out at a gym if you would prefer to be outdoors or walking in a mall.
Reason #3: Do It to Spend Time with Family and Make New Friends
Being active will give you opportunities to meet people and connect with family and friends.
Your time is one of the most precious gifts you can give your family. Spend more time outdoors with your partner and/or children. The fresh air and space offer the freedom to leap, run, and climb. Walk the dog, play at the park, teach your children a game from your childhood, or listen to your grandparents’ stories as you wander through a museum.
Group activities at a community or recreation centre can provide you with social support and a sense of belonging. While getting the exercise your body needs, you can also make friends who can help you deal with the stresses of life. Check out programs that are available locally, and talk to your friends about activities they do.
Reason #4: Do It to Stay Independent as You Get Older
Physical activity helps you live better as you grow older. Staying active will help you reach, bend, lift, carry, and move around more easily, so you can continue doing the things you like to do. The more you sit or lie around, the stiffer your joints become. Stretching and strength exercises will keep your muscles and joints mobile and help to prevent falls and injuries.
You’re never too old to enjoy the benefits of more activity. Being active is safe for most people. Start slowly and build up. If you are unsure about how much activity to do, talk to your doctor.
It’s Important to Be Active
Being active is one of the most important things you can do for your health. When you’re active, your body works better, and you lower your chances of getting heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or colon cancer. Activity feels good, gives you more energy, and makes you feel better about yourself. And physical activity doesn’t need to be a chore.
Do activities you enjoy a little more often. You may be surprised how quickly you begin to feel more energetic and stronger.
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines
Links to the actual guides and supporting documents.
Public Health Agency of Canada - Physical Activity
This website lists the benefits of physical activity and related research.