Let’s Get Physical! The Benefits of Regular Exercise to Improve Your Health

It’s no secret that regular exercise is good for your mind and body. The simple message offered in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd edition) says to “move more and sit less throughout the day” and suggests 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults and 60 minutes for children, at least five days a week.

Physical activity for all ages, genders, and body types can make you feel, function, and sleep better. In addition, the long-term health benefits of physical activity are proven to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Whatever your current level of fitness, there are so many ways to incorporate more physical activity into your week. When I was a young mother, I needed a quick, concentrated workout to fit into my busy schedule. I headed to a nearby track and began by walking one lap, running one lap until I could run a mile. One mile led to three miles, which led to my first 5-mile race.

Physical activity is an individual choice and does not need to involve a trip to the gym. Some days, my “workout” may include a walk with a friend, cleaning my house, walking my dog, doing some yard work, and walking the golf course (in my attempt to be a golfer!). Ideally, combining moderate aerobic activity (endurance or cardio), strength exercises, and stretching into every week is optimal for overall health. Below are a few tips to succeed in regular physical activity at any level:

  • If you are sedentary, begin with light-intensity activities like a leisurely walk (2 mph) or light household chores.
  • If you are currently active, but not regularly exercising, try moderate-intensity activities such as brisk walking, doubles tennis, golf, biking, yard work, or recreational swimming.
  • If you already engage in regular physical activity, you will benefit from vigorous-intensity activities on most days of the week. These include jogging, hiking, running, swimming laps, jumping rope, strenuous group fitness classes, and strength training.

For significant health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise (or a combination of both moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity). Incorporating a variety of activities during the week will prevent boredom and fitness plateaus. The bottom line is: get moving and keep moving! No one ever said, “I wish I didn’t do that workout!”

Quote of the week:

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.”

~ Audrey Hepburn

Recipe of the Week

Oven-roasted sausage with vegetables*

Ingredients

6 sweet Italian pork sausage (you can also use cooked chicken sausage)

1 large green pepper

1 large onion

1 medium head cauliflower washed, trimmed, and florets separated

Olive oil for pan

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the sausage links for about 15 minutes and remove from oven and cut into 1-inch pieces. Slice the pepper into 1-inch pieces and place in large bowl. Slice the onion and add to bowl. Add the cauliflower pieces and cut sausage to bowl and toss well. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and spread the sausage/vegetable mixture evenly on pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the sausage begins to brown. Serve with brown rice or whole-wheat penne pasta.

*For a vegetarian/vegan version of this dish, eliminate sausage and super-size the veggies (I swap the pepper for Brussels sprouts).

Published by

Leslie Ouellette

Listening and learning about nutrition, exercise, and health-related issues has been a life-long passion turned into action. I am most passionate about my family, friends, and good health. I am a business professional with over 30 years of expertise in marketing, market research, communications, writing, and editing. @balancedhealthblog

3 thoughts on “Let’s Get Physical! The Benefits of Regular Exercise to Improve Your Health”

  1. HI Leslie, I am enjoying your blog both suggestions and recipes. I recently read about a food/eating theory and book “The Plant Paradox” by Dr S. Goundry. Are you familiar with this? I am surprised by his food no no’s.Very much opposed to whole wheats and grains. He has specific foods that he calls inflammatory. I am interested on your take of the book if and when you read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mrs. St. Amour! I have not heard of this book, but know diets that eliminate whole wheat and grains (such as the Wheat Belly Diet). Every person tolerates foods differently, but I support the intake of whole grains as the fiber it contains lowers the risk of heart disease. I believe the context of “The Plant Paradox” is that lectins interfere with digestion. As with most things in nutrition, all of this depends entirely on the individual. Thanks for following!

      Like

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