It takes more than just healthy eating to achieve holistic wellness, physical activity is also a major contributing factor. The role of physical activity in health has been well established over time. Here are some reasons why physical activity benefits health for almost everyone:
• Weight management: Being physically active makes it easier to manage your weight, and maintain the ideal body weight and shape.
• Lower risk for disease: Regular physical activity has been linked with decreased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. That is because exercise helps to lower blood cholesterol levels, helps to control blood pressure, and improves blood glucose levels.
• Stronger muscles: When your muscles are strong, it’s easier to move, carry and lift things in your day-to-day. Your muscles give your body strength and structure, and this is key to maintaining fitness and mobility as you age.
• Increased stamina: People who are physically fit have increased stamina, and with this greater level of endurance, don’t tire as easily over a day.
• Positivity! People who exercise regularly tend to have better feelings of psychological wellbeing and self-esteem, improving their quality of life and mental outlook.
• Peaceful sleep. Research shows that physical activity helps your body relax and release emotional tension. This promotes longer, better quality sleep, and will help you to fall asleep faster.
While the benefits of regular physical activity are well recognized among healthcare professionals around the world, many of us do not find time to exercise with our full time work and family commitments.
For adults, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day is required, which can be accumulated in shorter activity bursts of at least 10 minutes each during the day. Remember that every small bit counts. Even if you do not have a spare hour in you day to do a solid hour-long work out, any small bursts of physical activity you do throughout the day add up to a healthier version of you.
Here are some tips for increasing your physical activity levels each day:
• Have a big stretch as you get out of bed,
• Follow this with 5 jumping jacks and 30 seconds of jogging on the spot,
• Instead of sending an email to a colleague in your office build, go for a walk and chat to them face-to-face,
• Remember that the weekends are also a very good time for exercising! While you spend more time relaxing and distressing outdoors, you might notice your levels of physical activity going up without you even realizing it.
• If you haven’t exercised in a long time, start slow and easy.
Did you know?
Pick n Pay is committed to promoting health and wellbeing among South Africans, and employs a Registered Dietitian to provide free nutrition-related advice to the public. Contact Leanne Kiezer via the Pick n Pay Health Hotline on 0800 11 22 88 or [email protected] to start your nutrition conversation.
You can also visit www.adsa.org.za to find a dietitian in your area who is registered with the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA).