Image by: nguyentuanhung
By Robert Spencer
There have been new studies out recently which talk about the differences in the quality of life between sedentary people and those who live active lifestyles. The results were astonishing.
A recent CDC report stated that a mere 20 percent of people (over the age of 18) are getting the recommended amount of physical activity in their life to stay happy and healthy. That is amazing considering that their recommendation is that a healthy adult should get 2 and a half hours of physical activity a week.
Even in 10 minute increments spread out through the week, this amount of activity is still beneficial. So what’s stopping us from being more active? Let’s go over some of the benefits of living an active lifestyle.
#1) What Activity is Safe for “Everyone”?
We are all at different parts of our lives. Some of us lead sedentary lives. We sit at work. When we get home, we veg out in front of the TV. We don’t exercise much. Some of us choose not to do too much because we have heart conditions.
Others go to the gym every day (except Sunday). Instead, on Sundays we go out on hikes with our friends. We run marathons.
There are also plenty of us who fall somewhere in between. We may be carrying a little extra weight around our midsection but we do some activities.
Well, there is one form of activity that is safe for you no matter what level of physical activity you are at: moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Brisk walking. Moderate hiking. These things are safe for you to try no matter where you are in your life.
Of course, if you start any sort of physical fitness regimen, you need to consult with your doctor first. Your doctor can help you come up with a fitness plan that suits your medical condition(s). This plan may even help ease the symptoms of those conditions and may even eliminate those conditions all together.
#2) Weight Loss
Yes, this is one of the most obvious benefits of being more active. However, did you know that you can eat more when you are more active? According to that same CDC poll, the average daily caloric needs of men who are sedentary are approximately 2000-2600 calories. However, for men who exercise regularly or lead a more active lifestyle, they need from 2400-3000 calories every day.
If you don’t want to go for a walk because of your heart, why not go walking for dessert or an extra treat with lunch the next day?
56% of those who were in the study reported that they got enough sleep or a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Active exercisers who were polled reported a higher percentage (about 83% of them, in fact).
This percentage isn’t that surprising though. If you are more active during the day, your mind gets the right amount of oxygen (oxygen intake can rise up to 25 ml/kg of body weight per minute if you exercise regularly), and you tire yourself out while you’re up. These factors along can explain why active people can rest easier when they lay down.
#4) Heart Disease
Actually, exercising regularly and/or staying active can help you reduce your risk of the two most dangerous (and leading causes of death in the US) cardiovascular diseases: heart disease and stroke. If you do the minimal 2 and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, you will already be at a lower risk for these diseases. If you exercise more, you will help your further your chances of living a long and healthy life.
#5) Your Quality of Life
Your quality of life will improve when you are active. You’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll be doing something that will allow you to meet new people (and building new relationships is one of the ways that you can lead a happier life).
Staying active is a great way to help relieve stress. You can sweat out the day’s worries. How does it work? Well, when you raise your heart rate, you get a surge of hormonal changes, which help you calm yourself. So whenever you feel stressed, why not go out for a brisk walk. It’s healthier than a cigarette and is scientifically proven to help you feel better.
#6) How Can I Start a More Active Lifestyle?
The great part about starting a more active lifestyle is that you can do it whenever you want. Here are some steps that you can take that may make the transition a bit easier:
1. Talk to your doctor. Get his approval and make sure that you start at the right level for your medical condition(s).
2. Pick an activity that you enjoy. It’s always easier if you start with activities that you don’t mind doing. Do you enjoy bike riding? Ride around your neighborhood and slowing increase your distance. Playing a sport? Join a league or play with a few friends during the weekends. Do you like the outdoors? Go hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter.
3. Gradually increase the intensity. If you tire yourself out in the beginning, you’re going to be less apt to continue to do this in the future.
4. Make it fun. Go with friends. It is always more enjoyable (unless you just want some quiet time to yourself – which is completely understandable) when you do things with your friends and loved ones.