TEF Health & Fitness Advice
We know that staying active is one of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy. But did you know it can also improve your overall well-being and quality of life?
Here are just a few of the ways physical activity can help you feel better, look better and live better. Because, why not?
It’s a natural mood lifter.
Regular physical activity can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger. You know that "feel good sensation" you get after doing something physical? Think of it as a happy pill with no side effects! Most people notice they feel better over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of their lives.
It keeps you physically fit and able.
Without regular activity, your body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function properly. It’s like the old saying: you don’t stop moving from growing old, you grow old from stopping moving. Exercise increases muscle strength, which in turn increases your ability to do other physical activities.
It helps keep the doctor away.
Stand up when you eat your apple a day! Too much sitting and other sedentary activities can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. One study showed that adults who watch more than 4 hours of television a day had an 80% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Being more active can help you:
- lower your blood pressure
- boost your levels of good cholesterol
- improve blood flow (circulation)
- keep your weight under control
- prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis
All of this can add up to fewer medical expenses, interventions and medications later in life!
It can help you live longer.
It’s true, 70 is the new 60… but only if you’re healthy. People who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about seven years longer than those who are not active and are obese. And the important part is that those extra years are generally healthier years! Staying active helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging. So active adults maintain their quality of life and independence longer as they age.
Here are some other benefits you may get with regular physical activity:
- Helps you quit smoking
- Boosts your energy level so you can get more done.
- Helps you manage stress and tension.
- Promotes a positive attitude and outlook.
- Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
- Improves your self-image and self-confidence.
- Helps you spend more time outdoors, fresh air.
A well-rounded strength-training program provides the following benefits:
- Increased strength of bones, muscles and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments);
- Lower risk of injury;
- Increased muscle mass, which makes it easier for your body to burn calories and thus maintain a healthy weight;
- Better quality of life.
You may wish to consult with a certified fitness professional to learn safe technique before beginning a strength-training program. One set of eight to 12 repetitions, working the muscles to the point of fatigue, is usually sufficient for each muscle group.
Aim to exercise each muscle group at least two times per week, with a minimum of two days of rest between workouts.
Training more frequently or adding more sets may lead to slightly greater gains, but the minimal added benefit may not be worth the extra time and effort -- not to mention the added risk of injury.
When to check with your doctor
Although moderate physical activity such as brisk walking is safe for most people, health experts suggest that you talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program if any of the following apply:
- You have heart disease.
- You have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- You have kidney disease.
- You have arthritis.
- You're being treated for cancer, or you've recently completed cancer treatment.
- You have high blood pressure.
If you haven't exercised regularly in a while, you may generally start exercising at a light to moderate level without seeing your doctor and gradually increase your activity.