Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle

5 Benefits of an Active Lifestyle

Most people tend to associate the gym and at-home exercise with a personal goal. Usually these goals include losing weight or building muscle. While it has been proven many times over that a nutritionally rich diet, in tandem with an exercise routine, will help you accomplish these goals – they’re not the only benefits. Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle or even just increasing your activity levels, the benefits reach far beyond these first two goals. It doesn’t matter which goal you’re working toward, the overall benefits of an active lifestyle are well worth the effort you put in, I promise. If you are afraid that increasing your exercise level could result in an injury, don’t sweat it. Even just a light walk or moderate aerobic activity is a great way to begin your new active lifestyle. The best part of all this, is that once this increase in exercise becomes a habit, a lifestyle – you’ll start to notice the short and long-term advantages it brings to your life.
Now I want to be clear – this doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in your favorite show, relax on the couch or play your favorite game. This is about finding balance. Some would even say that exercise has led them to a more balanced lifestyle and helped them to enjoy and appreciate the things they love to indulge in even more. Don’t feel like going to the gym means you should necessarily see results – go to the gym to feel better. Go to the gym with the big picture in mind – living a long, happy and fulfilling life. The goal is your overall health. Here are a few benefits to leading an active lifestyle…

1)    Reduce your risk of heart disease. In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death, tragically claiming hundreds of thousands of lives each year. But by following the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control, which is 150 minutes per week of moderate-intense aerobic activity, such as walking, can decrease your risk of this disease. When you break it down - 150 minutes per week is only about 20 minutes each day. And if you choose to increase the amount of time you stay active, you can even decrease your blood pressure and help regulate cholesterol levels.
2)    Reduce your risk of Diabetes Type II. By increasing your activity levels, of course you’ll be bound to lose a few pounds, but you’ll also notice a positive change in your blood sugar levels. Physical activity, even moderately, helps to boost your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which helps control blood sugar levels. Incorporating exercise in your daily routine will help you avoid potential complications that are associated with Diabetes, including but not limited to, kidney issues, eye problems and nerve damage.
3)    Reduce your stress levels. Stress - I know we all feel it. It comes in so many different forms, how can one not feel it?  It can present itself at work, at school, in your relationships, and everything in between. The good news, which I’m sure you’ve heard before - is that even minimal activity has been shown to increase the brain’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that help reduce stress levels, elevate your mood and increase your quality of sleep.  Stress effects everyone differently, and you should be aware of how your body is affected by it. As mentioned before, most people associate working out with losing weight and being fit, but the benefits don’t stop there. Leading an active lifestyle is one of the most important aspects of your mental health and can bring you a great deal of clarity and ultimately, help you react more positively to stressful situations.
4)    Increase your immune system. Regular activity is one of the best ways to improve your immune system. When the immune system is boosted, you will be less likely to succumb to those pesky and persistent illnesses, such as the common cold and the flu. Think of how much more productive you will be at work and at home when you don’t have to fight these illnesses off. The immune system is crucial in preventative care – putting you one step ahead of illness.
5)    Improve your daily activities. Your daily activities can range from climbing the stairs in your home or at work, to playing with your children or grandchildren. Leading an active lifestyle places you at a lower risk of having a functional limitation, especially at an older age. Daily physical activity is great not only for muscles, but for bones, joints and coordination. Stronger bones mean less fractures at an older age. Stronger joints mean you will get to experience more by not being limited by lack of stability. Finally, better coordination means less risk of falling, causing a fracture in the bone or damaging a joint.

The benefits of an active lifestyle are out there for anyone to have. It’s not selective, its inclusive. It doesn’t matter one’s race, ethnicity, gender or age - anyone and everyone can improve their quality of life by incorporating exercise into their lifestyle. To me, leading an active lifestyle is a small price to pay to set out for a long, happy and healthy life. A life full of family and friends, and without any limitations.  In life, it is all about balance. Indulge, have fun, be lazy sometimes – but be active, be productive – it will benefit you every day.