At Ministry Health Care, we believe the choices you make each day directly impact the quality of your health.
One of those choices concerns physical fitness. There are many small changes you can make to become more physically fit, and your exercise choices do make a difference. If you have a preference, do you use the elevator over the stairs? Do you park as close to the door as possible or take a space farther away?
Whether you carve out a specific amount of time to exercise each day or incorporate fitness into your everyday activities, getting fit means getting healthier. Getting healthier means getting active.
That's a message many Americans should take seriously:
- More than 60 percent of adults do not achieve the recommended amount of regular physical activity. In fact, 25 percent of all adults are not active at all. (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1999)
- Less-active, less-fit persons have a 30 - 50 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure. (Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 1992)
- Individuals who don't get enough physical activity are more likely to develop heart disease. In 2002, more than 18,000 Wisconsin residents died from cardiovascular disease alone. (Wisconsin Medical Journal 2002)
Benefits of Exercise
Lack of physical activity is a contributing factor in developing diabetes and high blood pressure. For individuals who do have these chronic conditions, regular exercise can help alleviate or reduce its effects.
Regular physical activity can:
- Reduce the risk of developing colon cancer
- Stimulate circulation
- Help control weight
- Build and maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints
- Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
- Help you sleep better
- Increase your energy
- Alleviate stress and encourage psychological well-being
Make the Commitment
You can experience the benefits of exercise by setting a goal of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity 3 to 5 times per week. Even a moderate amount of exercise, like walking briskly or taking the stairs can help. In fact, cardiovascular benefits gained in three, 10-minute exercise sessions are almost the same as those from one, 30-minute workout.
When planning your program, incorporate variety into your routine. Not only will this use different muscle groups, you also won't get bored with the same activities. Look for opportunities to increase your endurance, stamina, and flexibility. If you haven't exercised in awhile, you'll need to start slow and build intensity over time. Don't try to make up for lost time all in one session; you could injure yourself. Remember, you're making a change for a lifetime of good health.
Incorporate stretching, warming-up, and cooling-down into your routine. And, consider including weight-bearing activities to support your cardiovascular efforts. The weight-bearing activities also help to build strong bones and muscles. Just remember not to "weight train" the same muscle groups two days in a row. They need a rest period.
Before you begin any exercise program, please consult your physician.
You may also want to look at our Benefits of Physical Activity brochure. Please contact your Ministry Health Care physician group or hospitals for more information about local resources for embarking on a new fitness program or strengthening your existing routine. Ministry Health Care provides the healthy connections for your health and well-being.