Step 4: Be Active!
A healthy lifestyle includes exercise as well as a healthy diet. Maintaining your physical health will help slow the effects and pains that come with aging; it will also help you stay energized and get the most out of life.
We may find it difficult to get an appropriate amount of physical activity or exercise: we are busy beings with lots on the go. Many of us have jobs that are sedentary, which forces our normally active bodies to sit for long periods of time, contributing to posture problems and weight control issues. While there are countless gyms and fitness centers, too often many of us pay into gyms only to not be able to find the time or motivation to use our (usually expensive) memberships.
However, the benefits of daily physical activity help maintain and improve fitness, energy levels and general health. Incorporating physical activity is also easier than you think – walks, 30 min bouts of exercise, fun fitness classes, playing with children, all of these and more provide a healthy dose of physical activity.
Stuck on how to start? See the following tips on how to get moving:
Take a walk – every day!
Take a brief walk of 15 to 30 minutes. Try walking 15 minutes away from your starting point and then return. Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise and is also one of the best forms. Recently, a study found that individuals who walked for 20 minutes per day for 5 days a week lost weight, improved flexibility, balance and energy levels.
Drive less, and walk and climb more
Instead of driving for small errands, try walking or biking. Even public transport, which is also better for the environment, will require you to walk a bit more and take stairs. If you are driving, park far from your destination in parking lots so that you have more of a walk. Take stairs instead of elevators.
Go for hikes
Hikes are a great way to enjoy nature and your time off from work. Instead of using your free time to veg around the house, get outside and into nature. Hikes keep us fit by walking, and also up our positivity levels as we are outdoors and engaging with nature. Even if you live in a city, there are usually paths, parks, scenic waterfronts, boardwalks, and other areas to roam in. Research your routes before you head out as you’ll want to choose a hike that is appropriate in length and intensity for you. Try to go for hour long hikes on the weekend – this is especially great for those who find it hard to exercise every day.
Play Sport and Dance
Working out doesn’t have to be a serious chore that bums you out! Find activities that you enjoy, so that you’ll want to be active and make more time for it. Throw the Frisbee around, cycle about, go rollerblading. Join recreational leagues such as soccer, basketball, softball and ultimate Frisbee. Take a dance class! These activities are fun, and encourage us to meet new people and develop relationships, which are important for our social health.
Take fitness classes
It can be difficult to motivate yourself, and to go to the gym on your own. Try signing up for group classes, such yoga, pilates, martial arts, dance fitness classes and stretching. You can try something new, have others around to motivate you, have an opportunity to make new friends and be monitored and helped by qualified instructors.