Expert advice: why and how to exercise daily
Physical activity is essential for well-being and has positive effects on both the body and the mind. Discover its benefits and how to integrate it into your daily life.
Do you often feel overwhelmed because of long workdays, too much housework or a busy schedule? If you do, don’t forget that everyone has a tool they can use at any time to make them feel good and that is practically free: their body. Physical activity can dramatically change the way you face the ups and downs of everyday life. Why? Because it has real benefits on physical and psychological health.
The benefits of physical activity
On the body
– It increases longevity: It slows down the aging process2 and helps prevent the decline of immune function in the elderly1.
– It prevents health problems: It reduces the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis1 and cancer3.
– It improves cognitive functions (concentration and memory): It increases the blood flow irrigating the brain3.
– It strengthens the immune system: It improves blood circulation and stimulates certain immune components1.
– It improves gut health: It accelerates bowel movement, reducing stool carcinogens exposure the time of exposure to the colon4.
– It increases energy levels: It improves the oxygen flow (thus releasing the body from certain causes of fatigue such as stress and muscle tension1) and the ability to recover after an intense effort3.
– It improves body shape: It helps preserve muscle mass and promote fat loss.
– It improves sexuality: It helps to maintain a good body image3, cardiovascular endurance and erectile function1.
On the mind
– It makes you happy: It increases the level of serotonin in the blood and the secretion of endorphins3, two happiness hormones.
– It promotes relaxation: It stimulates and strengthens the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system1, whose function is to slow down the heart rate5.
– It helps to sleep better: It causes physical fatigue and mental relaxation conducive to sleep3.
5 tips to stay active
Did you know that adults and seniors are recommended to exercise (moderate to high physical activity) at least 2.5 hours of per week? Each session should last a minimum of 10 minutes and two of these should be activities that strengthen the muscles and bones, especially around the thigh and leg areas6. Here are five tips for staying fit:
1. Determine why you want to be physically active.
2. Make physical activity a priority.
3. Choose one or more physical activities that you like.
4. Integrate physical activity into your daily routine.
The recipe is simple, but all the ingredients must be there for “the cake to rise”: pleasure, patience, perseverance and self-esteem. It’s now up to you to go and have fun!
(Thanks to Wellness Specialist Julie Marchand for collaborating to this article.)