What are you doing to improve or maintain your health? Many diseases are quite preventable, are you doing anything to reduce your risk of developing some common diseases? Do you smoke? Please quit. Are you inactive? Please move. Do you consume more than two (women) or three (men) alcoholic drinks per day? Please cut down. Do you lift weights? Get started, especially if you are female and over 18 years of age. Do you walk, run, cycle, ski, swim, dance or do anything to get your heart and breathing rates up for a total of 20-30 minutes at least three times each week? Please do it.
So many symptoms of several health issues can be reduced or even prevented by exercising regularly and eating properly. Adult onset diabetes is one of the diseases that can be eliminated by following a healthy eating plan and a moderate exercise plan on a regular basis. Heart disease is another. So are some mental health issues and even some cancer risks can be greatly reduced through exercise and healthy eating habits. Even arthritis pain can be managed with some activity. Aside from disease prevention, eating well and exercising regularly will improve your mobility, flexibility, strength, balance and stamina. Your mood may improve, so will your sleep. In short, your quality of life will improve.
Where to start? I suggest moving. Even if you are a smoker, your health will improve through adding activity to your week. An active smoker is healthier than an inactive smoker. The more active you become the greater the chance you will want to give up the cigarettes next. How do you move? Choose an activity that you like and commit to it. Walking briskly is always a good place to start. You don’t need special equipment and it’s usually easy to do. Don’t stroll. Get your heart rate up a little. Too nasty outside for walking? Join a facility that has treadmills, buzz through Wal-Mart or go up and down stairs, wherever you can find some. Cycling and swimming are also excellent, especially for anyone who suffers from arthritis. These are non weight bearing activities that are excellent for heart health. Can’t do it outside? Find an indoor facility. Don’t want to exercise alone? Join a group activity like basketball, pickleball or fitness classes. Group activity adds the element of socialization which is also excellent for your mental health.
I mentioned weight lifting. This is an excellent exercise method for women, as well as men, to manage bone health. Young women, as well as those who are older and are pre or post menopause, who do strength training with weights will build their bone density, therefore reducing their risk of osteoporosis later in life. Before the age of 18, body weight exercises or exercise using light weights is best. After 18, heavier weights can be introduced. Anyone of any age should progress slowly and gradually when lifting weights. Care should also be taken to do it correctly in order to prevent injury. The added stress placed on bone through weight lifting will cause the body to lay down excess calcium, therefore improving the density of the bone. This means less risk of fractures, in the young or old. Strength gains can be made at any age. Older men and women both have become stronger, and therefore more independent by exercising with weights. If you are an older adult that seeks to maintain your independence, and wants to live in your own home as long as possible, I suggest you get moving. Your balance will benefit, therefore your risk of falling will be reduced. That alone will help keep you living independently. There is much you can do to improve or maintain good health. Make the move and start today!