Today I thought I would remind you all briefly on the importance of physical activity. Everybody needs it! In my own life I enjoy kettlebell training and hiking. Kettlebells are big iron balls with handles that originate from Russia. Many of the movements involve swings and ballistic movements that train groups of muscles at once. They also provide an excellent cardio workout in as little as 20 minutes. I do about 30-45 min at a time. I have been doing this now for about six months and feel great, I haven’t felt this good since high school!
Naturally, check with a doctor before starting any type of physical activity. If you want to start with kettlebells or other forms of weight training, get a trainer so you learn how to do it properly, without injuring yourself!
There are of course many different options for activity. I think it is best that you pick something that you enjoy and will do regularly. Canadian and US guidelines for physical activity recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (or 75 min of vigorous physical activity). This is about 30 min 5 days a week. You should do at least 10 min at a time to see cardiovascular benefit. As you age, incorporate more flexibility and strength exercises. For children and adolescents the guidelines are 60 minutes per day, reflecting the increased need for exercise to help them grow and develop in a healthy way. I think the cuts to PE classes that have been occurring at various schools are certainly very shortsighted.
Even if you have never exercised before, it is worth starting. There is conclusive evidence that regular exercise improves energy, sleep, mood, and helps regulate BP and cholesterol and lowers rates of heart disease and stroke. If you have heart or other disease already, check with your doctor before starting, then go for it once you have the OK. The benefit, in terms of avoiding future problems, is enormous. We are meant to be active!
I encourage you all to do your best, and wish you every success in doing so. Do you have any exercise success stories? I’d love to read them, leave me a comment!