If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? For most people the answer is simple: they’d live a healthier, more active lifestyle.
The benefits of being active are clear. Folks who exercise frequently live up to 7 years longer than sedentary peers and are less likely to suffer from chronic health conditions.
Getting active can help you get more out of life, too. You’ll feel great after your first 5K run, and will learn to love breathing deeply during a yoga flow.
Physical Strength and Wellness
Strengthening your bones and muscles is extremely important if you want to live a long, happy life. Your body is meant to move, and your musculoskeletal system is integral to the overall health of your body.
Strengthening your muscles and bones is also important when you age. An exercise routine can help prevent osteoporosis and improve your bone density. Brisk walking, yoga, and weightlifting can help minimize muscle pain, too. Stretching with the guidance of a physical therapist or yoga instructor can help alleviate back pain and help you identify the root cause of achy joints.
Improved strength can help you stay independent for longer. You won’t need help carrying groceries or DIYing if you’re in great physical condition. Even short group exercise classes can have a profound impact on your strength. Just two muscle-strengthening exercise classes per week can significantly improve your strength and coordination.
Getting active is a great way to avoid cardiovascular disease and illnesses like spider veins. Spider veins typically form in folks who live a sedentary lifestyle and may be an indicator that you aren’t exercising enough. Changing to a more active lifestyle can improve the overall effectiveness of your cardiovascular system, and help you fight off conditions like varicose veins and cardiovascular disease.
Weight management is a widely misunderstood concept. You don’t have to be skinny to be healthy, and forcing yourself to lose weight may even be bad for your overall health. Rather, effective weight management is all about finding the right weight for you and your body.
Speak to a medical professional before you jump on a crash diet. Your primary care physician should be able to help you target the ideal weight for your health and well-being. This will be based on your body type, as folks usually fall into one of three categories:
- Endomorph: Stockier and naturally carries more fat.
- Mesomorph: Usually considered “athletic” and has a mix of fat and muscle.
- Ectomorph: “Skinny” with a fast metabolism and very low fat.
Trying to achieve a body type outside of your natural physique is all but impossible. It won’t improve your health and well-being, either, as endomorphs that crash into the ectomorph category are likely to regain the weight they lose and gain more than what they started with.
Living a more active lifestyle can help you manage your weight naturally. You’ll either gain muscle or lose fat when you start to exercise frequently as your body adapts to your new activity levels. Follow this up with a healthy diet with as many fresh, unprocessed, and natural foods as possible.
Finding the right weight for you as a healthy weight can help you avoid chronic conditions like sleep apnea, heart disease, and arthritis. Achieving your weight management goals can do wonders for your body image and self-esteem, too.
Most folks undervalue the importance of exercising for mental health. However, living an active lifestyle can have a profound positive impact on your mental health and well-being.
For example, working up a sweat can improve your energy levels and mood. Research shows that folks who get out and exercise have “higher levels of positive emotions” and feel calmer, yet “more awake” during the day. Working out can help mitigate your stress, too, as you can burn off some anxious feelings while exercising and will benefit from better sleep.
In addition, improved mental health can have a knock-on impact in other areas of your life. Folks who exercise regularly may be more likely to achieve success in their careers. This is due to an improved outlook on life, and a greater sense of resilience. Exercise also helps you build a healthy schedule, so you can build a life around your favorite pastimes.
Everyone wants to exercise more regularly, but getting started can be a real chore. Avoid the temptation to make a dramatic lifestyle switch, and focus on small, measurable changes.
If, for example, you want to run more frequently, consider signing up for a couch to 5k event. This will ease you into the process of running, and give your body a chance to adapt. Similarly, if you’re new to the gym, consider working with a personal trainer (PT) who specializes in helping beginners. Working with a professional can boost your confidence and help you avoid injury.
If you don’t have the time to team up with a PT, consider downloading an AI-powered PT. AI PTs aren’t as effective as real PTs, but they’re much better than going to the gym without a plan.
Try to make other lifestyle changes that reflect your newfound love of exercise, especially in your diet. Eat foods that support an active lifestyle, like berries, nuts, and leafy greens. Try to avoid fried food when possible and drink less alcohol. This will give your body a chance to recover and rebuild between sessions.
Living a healthier lifestyle can improve your life expectancy and reduce your risk of chronic illnesses. Even small changes, like brisk walking in the morning, can help you turn the corner and live a healthier, more fulfilling life. Just be sure to take it slow and work with a professional if you ever feel unsure.