We are in the process of finalizing some research – once it is completed, we will be putting a full exercise module into this program area. Until then, here is a short article on fitness. Remember; always check with your doctor first before beginning a fitness program.
Exercise – getting active – it can change your life!
Getting physically fit is one of the most critical things you can do for your health. Often we have images of what so called “fit” people look like. We may envisage slim, top-notch athletes, or we think of body builders as fit - because they appear to be lean with a lot of muscles. But what about the every day person, are they likely to be fit, can they possibly be fit, unless they look like the person in the gym ads? The answer is yes! Many people who work at being fit don’t especially look the part. Gyms and parks and areas all over town are full of people of all ages and sizes who look after themselves and are in good shape.
Being fit doesn’t have to be a fanatical process - but rather is achievable by doing some form of physical workout a minimum of three or four days weekly, during which you get your heart rate up, and where you work up a good sweat. A lot of people walk daily and achieve this. Or they may treadmill, use a stationary bike, swim… or maybe they do a mixture of things like brisk walking, dance classes and bike riding. Being dedicated to making activity a part of your everyday life is really important - if you want to feel healthy and reap the benefits of a well functioning system with a healthy heart and good blood pressure levels. You don’t have to be a jock, nor do you have to look like a movie star workout queen. You just have to find activities you enjoy and do them often enough and vigorously enough - to keep your heart and lungs in good shape. When you do that, your body responds in many, many positive ways. Keeping active helps you deal better with stress, it buffers you from the nasty side effects of feeling tense and over-whelmed. Keeping active may well improve your mood, and put your spirits in the upswing as your body produces lots of feel good chemicals. Keeping active can contribute to keeping you regular (we all know that is important) and it can help to keep your weight normal and make you more flexibile. It may well help you sleep better, and it can give you the extra energy you need to get through a busy day. On top of these excellent benefits, keeping fit boosts your confidence - it makes you feel good about yourself – even if you are a little overweight, once you start getting fit, you feel even better about yourself very quickly. Another very big effect of activity is that it can help your immune system to ward of illness. People who are fit may well live longer - certainly they’ll live better - because of how good they feel.
What age do you have to be to get fit? Check with your doctor in case some chronic health issue makes it unwise, otherwise, there is no age at which your body can’t benefit from getting more active. We have an 80-year-old friend who is in a wheel chair. She does exercises daily and really benefits from doing this. We are all the same; activity is a life-long necessity for everyone.
Maybe you are saying, sure I’d like to but – I have no time to get fit, I’m far too busy with a career, lots of home responsibilities. Many of us are stressed because the day isn’t long enough, and by evening we’re exhausted. Getting fit will actually help you deal with that stress and exhaustion much better. Get to bed a half hour earlier, don’t watch the late night news, set your alarm for an hour earlier and schedule fitness the very first thing. Otherwise the day goes by and the opportunity doesn’t happen. Not a morning person, all the better, you’ll get fit without being fully awake. Join a gym and get there early, buy a treadmill, or a bike, dance, take the dog for a brisk walk daily, grab some roller blades, go to the Rec Centre pool - do whatever it takes to give you a feeling of health and joy. We promise you’ll feel energized within a few weeks.
Once you feel energized you may also want to do some toning - if so- get instructions from a well trained professional and perhaps add lifting weights and other exercises to build muscle strength.
Do this for you, you’re more than worth it – soon you will feel stronger and healthier than you have in a long time. Go for it! Get healthy!