Stay Physically active

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things we can do for our health. It is an important part of maintaining physical and mental health. That’s why physical activity and exercise are important for everyone, to improve overall well-being and quality of life regardless of age, body type or BMI.

Numerous studies show that regular exercise and physical activity not only reduce the risk of premature mortality, but also help to delay or even prevent age-related diseases. They can increase mobility and balance and strengthen  muscles and bones. They can also help lower the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and help maintain a healthy weight. Staying active generally helps improve overall mood and reduces stress. At the same time, life expectancy increases by about seven years, and these are usually healthy years! In other words, staying active – moving more and sitting less – is important to staying healthy, happy, and living longer.

 

The difference between exercise and physical activity

We know that physical activity is important, but how is it different from active sports? Exercise or sport is typically repetitive, structured and focused action such as push-ups, aerobics, etc. Physical activity, on the other hand, is a broader term that refers to general body movements performed during a person’s normal day such as working, gardening, housework or playing with the kids. 

Every movement produces positive hormones and endorphins, which allows us to be more productive and energetic throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none at all. There’s no need to rush to the gym right away, increasing daily activity can be achieved by making small changes in your behaviors throughout the day. Excuses like, ‘not enough time’ or’ ‘too much work’ don’t count. You can gradually add more activity to your day. It is, of course,an advantage to have a partner, especially at the beginning. In general, training with other people can be more pleasant and of course more sociable.

Being active for short periods throughout the day can add up to health benefits. Half an hour of walking or exercising can help you feel a lot better and feel happier right away. A slow stroll through a park is more than enough to get started. Leaving the car in the garage and, if possible, walking or riding a  bike, getting off the train or bus one stop earlier and walking to work or home, are all ways of increasing your physical activity. You just have to find your motivation and start moving.

Here are some tips to help you stay active:

1. Make exercise part of your routine: Put exercise on your calendar like any other event. If you prefer to exercise in the morning, get up early and go for a walk or swim before breakfast. If you prefer to exercise in the evening, unwind with yoga or a light jog before dinner.

2. Find activities you find easy: If you find the activity you’re doing difficult, you probably won’t stick with it. Think about what comes easy to you and what you can do. It could be as simple as a brisk walk around the block, or turn on some upbeat music and move to the rhythm while you’re doing housework or gardening.

3. Start slow: If you’re just starting out, start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration. For example, start by taking the stairs. Walk for 10 minutes each day, then add a few minutes each week until you reach the recommended amount of exercise.

4. Set goals: Setting realistic and achievable goals can help you stay motivated. Write down your goals and track your progress. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and don’t be discouraged when you face a setback.

5. Have fun: Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Find an activity you enjoy and make it social. Invite a friend over for a game of golf, a yoga class, or hit the dance floor. Or take part in a group fitness course or a hiking group.

Staying active as we age is important for our physical and mental health. If you integrate exercise into your everyday life, you can stay healthy and fit even in old age.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

 

1. BETTER HEART HEALTH

Physical activity can significantly improve your heart health.

    • Lowered blood pressure
    • Better blood circulation
    • Improved oxygen circulation
    • Stronger organs
    • Stronger heart rate
    • Better cholesterol and fat balance
    • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers

2. BETTER BONE & JOINT STRENGTH

One of the best ways to prevent age-related degeneration is by making sure you are regularly physically active. Your legs get stronger and build up muscle and endurance when you walk regularly.

    • Lower risk of developing osteoporosis
    • Lower risk of falls
    • Reduced issues with joint pain around the legs
    • Relief from chronic lower back pain

3. POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH

Walking can have remarkable effects on your mental health by altering the levels of serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones. We all seek better mental health and want to be free from negative thoughts and disorders. Being outdoors and surrounded by greenery can actually help you relieve stress, neutralize daily worries and make you feel more relaxed.

4. WEIGHT LOSS

A daily walk at a moderate pace can go a long way in helping you to manage your weight better. It also provides a significant boost in the process of digestion. After a meal, go for a slow but purposeful walk to help stimulate digestion and lower the levels of glucose in the blood. Generally, a balanced, healthy diet and some additional forms of exercises go hand in hand to lose weight.

WHAT ARE THE MEDITERRANEAN PEOPLE DOING DIFFERENTLY?

With pleasant temperatures all year round, there is every reason to spend as much time as possible outside in the Mediterranean countries. People are more likely to climb steep hills and steps as part of their daily routine. They walk to the store instead of driving, and they work every day in their gardens. To be outside and active is the key. A morning run at the beach, hiking in the beautiful countryside or a walk to the market are just a few daily habits of people in the Mediterranean.

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