Technology and conveniences have made our lives much easier, but people sit a lot during the day (e.g., driving, working on a computer, watching TV). In 2012, only about 54% of Canadians 12 years and older said they were moderately active in their leisure time. This is a problem. Many people aren’t getting enough exercise to stay healthy.
Want to decrease your chances of getting some types of health problems? That’s what regular physical activity can do. Regular activity lowers your risk of:
Being active will also:
Most people who dance, swim, play tennis, or go hiking do these activities because they enjoy them. Having fun is also good for your health. Taking part in an activity that you enjoy will help you relax and lower your stress. It will also help you feel good about yourself, which is good for your mental health.
What activity appeals to you? Try to find an activity you enjoy doing by yourself or with others because you’ll be more likely to keep doing it. Find out about activities in your community to try new things and learn new skills.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be hard to be good for your body. If you don’t like going to a gym, do something outside or walk in a mall.
Being active will give you a chance to meet people and connect with family and friends. Your time is one of the most precious gifts you can give your family. Spend more time outside with your partner and/or children. Enjoy fresh air and space by walking the dog, playing at a park, or teaching your children a game from your childhood. If the weather isn’t good, think about taking your children and their grandparents to a museum and walk through and listen to your parent’s stories.
Group activities at a community or rec centre can give you social support and a place to feel like you belong. While getting exercise, you can also make new friends. Check out programs in your area and talk to your friends about activities that they do.
Physical activity can help you live better as you grow older. Staying active will help you reach, bend, lift, carry, and move around easier, so you can keep doing things you like to do. The more you sit or lie around, the stiffer your joints get. Stretching and strength exercises will keep your muscles and joints moving and help prevent falls and injuries.
Being active is safe for most people. Start slowly and work your way up. If you aren’t sure about how much activity you can do, talk to your doctor.
Physical activity doesn’t need to be a chore. Do activities you enjoy more often. You may be surprised how quickly you start to feel like you have more energy and feel stronger.
Current as of: March 11, 2016
Author: Chronic Disease Prevention, Alberta Health Services