Monday, March 14, 2011

Healthy Living: Be Active


"Lack of activity destroys the good condition 
of every human being, while movement 
and methodical physical exercise 
save it and preserve it."
~Plato 

You know what they say 'Use it or loose it'.  You don't want to lose it do you?  I didn't think so, so go use it! That's really the short story here, but we will to ahead and expand on the topic anyway :)

Be Active Physically
The health and overall wellness benefits of regular physical exercise are practically endless!  It is the magic cure for just about anything.  Seriously.
  • equalize your mood- exercise pumps all sorts of feel good chemicals into your blood stream, it also gives you a way to work out frustration and aggression making you a more emotionally balanced individual
  • maintain your weight- your body is going to be a little more forgiving of that extra serving of desert if you get in a few good workouts during the week
  • get better sleep- get in a morning workout and you will likely fall asleep quicker and more deeply (if you workout to close to bedtime it might have the opposite effect and leave you too energized to fall asleep, so just skip that cup of morning coffee and go for a run instead)
  • have more energy- while we are at it we can skip the mid afternoon energy drink as well, exercise helps your cardiovascular system become more efficient and if the blood is circulating through your body more efficiently that means more energy when you need it
  • have a better sex life- a healthy cardiovascular system means more efficient blood circulation to all parts of your bod, enough said
  • be there for your family- exercise reduces your risk for just about every deadly disease out there, from diabetes to heart disease to cancer, if you work out your risk goes down
  • be a good example- good health habits are contagious, if you exercise you are setting a good example for your kids, your family, your friends and co-workers, getting your exercise is not just a good thing for you but for everyone around you!
I think there is a good chance we don't even fully understand all of the benefits of physical excercise.  The human body was meant to move.  Just look at yourself, everything about the way you are put together indicates movement. Your joints and muscles are not there for just sitting, they are intended for movement!

Exercise does not have to be boring and you don't have to have a gym membership. Try getting a good workout by
  • Running!  No equipment needed, just a pair of shoes and the open road
  • Hiking
  • Community sports teams, check out your local adult tennis, basketball, volleyball, baseball/softball leagues
  • Play with your kids!  Chase your kids around, push them on a swing, play tag.  Get in your exercise and spend time with the ones you love.
  • Home videos, there are more on the market than you could ever possibly get board with. From Jazzercise to Pilates to Tae Bo, its out there and available for the comfort of your living room
Be Active Mentally
Did you think this was going to be all about physical exercise?  The 'use it or lose it' principal applies to your mind as well. There are lot's of ways to keep yourself mentally sharp well into old age.
  • Read
  • Write
  • Arithmetic (haha... but seriously math is a great mental activity)
  • Puzzles (crossword, sudoku, or jigsaw puzzles)
  • Listen to music  
  • Simply engage!  Pay attention and notice whats going on around you. 
  • Be creative, paint, sew, decorate your home, put together a cute outfit, or cook a creative meal
  • Learn new things
Be Active Socially
I strongly believe that good relationships are critical to good health and will be talking more about this later in this healthy living series but the short story, people who have good relationships are healthier and good relationships don't come out of no where you need to give them your time and attention. Be socially active.
  • Have coffee with friends
  • Join a bookclub
  • Be active on social websites (what? Facebook is good for my health?  In moderation, it could be)
  • Have family dinners together
  • Pick up the phone and contact friends and family who live far away
  • Join a community sports team (am I repeating myself?) 
Just do it!
Am I repeating myself? I could probably go on and on but it all just comes down to one simple principal 'use it or lose it'.  Be active and engage.  Do things!  There is no health to be found in being stagnant or lethargic.

What other areas of your life could being active benefit your health? 

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