Most of us know that exercise is good for us. But let’s face it, sometimes we all need the motivation to get up and move our bodies. And you may be surprised to learn that exercise can do more than strengthen your muscles or help you lose weight.
In fact, regular exercise can boost energy, promote restful sleep, and help lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It can even help reduce chronic pain and stress, which may help improve your mood.
But how often should you exercise? The American Heart Association recommends the following weekly exercise practices:
•Aerobics: 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (e.g., water aerobics, dancing, or gardening) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (e.g., running, swimming laps, or jumping rope)
•Muscle-strengthening: two days of muscle-strengthening activities like resistance or weight training, yoga, or pilates
It’s recommended that older adults should also include balance training in their exercise routines (e.g., tai chi, heel-to-toe walking, or balancing on one leg). These exercises strengthen the leg muscles and core to improve coordination and stability and may help prevent falls.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s exercise journey will be different. The key to getting the most out of your exercise plan is finding activities you enjoy so that staying active becomes part of your lifestyle.
It’s also important not to injure yourself while exercising. Remember, no matter how long you’ve been exercising, stretching before you exercise is critical to prevent muscle strains and joint injuries. Also, make sure to make time for rest to allow your muscles time to recover after your workouts. It’s recommended to allow for 1 to 2 rest days every week.
And, if you’re a beginner, you should start slow and increase your exercise intensity over time. This will help you avoid injuries and slowly increase your exercise frequency and duration.
At the end of the day, the act of getting physical acting is most important for your physical and mental health. Focus less on the type of exercise and more on what feels enjoyable and right for your body.