It is never too early or too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Ditch the fad diets and make the commitment to transform your life. Wellness Coordinator Paula Nigro believes in the adage “use it or lose it.” “Inactivity can cause muscles to weaken and the heart and lungs to function less efficiently,” she explains. Joints can stiffen and become more prone to injury. “Inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking!”
Exercise is one of the best ways to treat yourself. The benefits start with your brain and positively impact the rest of your body. Exercise is good medicine from head to toe because it:
1. Reduces stress, lifts moods and improves sleep quality.
2. Prevents and reduces the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, some cancers, arthritis and falls.
3. Improves stamina because the body uses less energy for the same amount of work. Your heart rate and breathing rate return to resting levels much sooner after strenuous activity.
4. Boosts energy because regular activity increases the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients.
5. Stimulates chemicals such as serotonin, which help with relaxation and increase blood flow to the brain, allowing the mind to work faster.
6. Strengthens and tones muscles and develops bones and ligaments for strength and endurance.
7. Increases flexibility. Strength exercises keep the body limber and reduce the risk of injury by improving balance and coordination.
8. Controls weight by burning calories.
9. Promotes better sleep. Regular physical activity helps you fall asleep faster and deepens your sleep.
Paula suggests aiming for 30 minutes of physical activity every day. “To lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, more exercise may be needed,” she says. Check with your doctor before exercising, especially if you are new to exercise or struggle with a chronic health condition.