I got a great surprise over the weekend. I ran into a friend’s brother and he looked fantastic!  I asked him what he was doing and his answer was exactly what I like to hear as a health professional: he had implemented a regular workout routine and was thinking about portion control. These very simple changes that required no starving, no exhaustion, and no real sacrifice has resulted in him losing 25 pounds in the past two months.

Regular physical activity should be an important part of our daily routine. It really helps me get moving and without it I tend to feel sluggish and my mood plummets. As a personal trainer and health coach, I see many people who would like to lose some weight and feel better. The problem is that many are looking for a magic pill will make those extra pounds go away rather than the only method that is proven to work: eating a well-balanced diet and adding more physical activity to the daily routine. I am often asked about the importance of physical activity and the benefits that can be expected. Should people move more?

The answer is yes, absolutely!  Exercise is not just good for us, it’s vital!  The body is designed to move and be active. Regular exercise and physical activity are important to everyone’s health and well-being. Being physically active helps you continue doing the things you enjoy while staying independent as you grow older. Regular physical activity over long periods of time produces long-term health benefits.

Here are some of the many proven benefits of physical activity:

  • Weight Control
  • Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Reducing your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthening your bones and muscles
  • Improving your mental health and mood
  • Improving your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, especially if you’re an older adult
  • Increasing your chances of living longer

One of the best things about physical activity is that there are so many ways to be active. For example, you can be active in short spurts throughout the day, or you can set aside specific times of the day on specific days of the week to exercise. Many physical activities, such as brisk walking, raking leaves, or taking the stairs whenever, you can are absolutely free and require no special equipment. Your local library may have exercise videos. Your community may even have exercise or walking groups, which is a great way to meet new people while getting healthier! Even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity will provide noticeable benefits!

If you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, make sure to talk with your doctor and find out if your condition limits your ability to be active before trying anything strenuous. Work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities.

Jackie Ostrikis MS CPT