Physical activity is important to everyone because it allows our bodies to work off stress, build muscle, increase our cardiovascular fitness, maintain a healthy weight and lower our risk for disease.
Physical activity can be achieved through walking, running, swimming, dancing, gardening, biking, aerobics, sports, or basically anything that allows you to use a large part of your body’s muscle to perform an activity for a lengthened period of time.
When performing physical activity, try to incorporate the following components:
- Warm-up: Make sure you take 3-5 minutes to perform the activity at a slower pace or perform some dynamic stretches. This allows the body to prepare for the activity by increasing the heart rate and blood flow, lubricating the joints and increasing the body temperature.
- Cardio: Allowing the heart rate to increase and the heart to be worked within its target zone will help achieve cardiovascular conditioning.
- Muscle strengthening: Lifting weights or using your bodyweight to strengthen the muscles will allow the body to become more defined and will allow you to burn more calories when performing activities.
- Muscle endurance: Repeating a movement over and over can help train the muscle to be able to perform over a longer period of time.
- Flexibility: Stretching the muscles of the body will help you maintain proper range of motion of the joints and may help lessen soreness from overworked muscles.
- Cool-down: Take 3-5 minutes after your activity to allow the heart rate to lower, the blood to return from the extremities to the core and to slow your breathing back to normal.
To improve general health, every American adult should accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity over the course of most days of the week.
Benefits of physical activity:
- the risk of dying prematurely
- the risk of dying from heart disease
- the risk of developing diabetes
- the risk of developing high blood pressure
- the risk of developing colon cancer
- feelings of depression and anxiety
- promote psychological well-being
- control weight
- build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints