The Five Pillars of Health: Moderate Exercise
Movement means health and moderate exercise is important for our health. It keeps our organs functioning and our immune system strong. It helps us achieve four essentials of fitness: suppleness, stamina, strength and stability. Most of the health benefits from exercise are achieved when we go from not exercising to becoming moderately active. Slightly more benefits are gained from increasing the duration or intensity of the exercise.
Therefore, the current recommendation is exercising aerobically 30 minutes a day. More intense exercise like strength training is encouraged, if medically appropriate, twice a week.
Benefits of Moderate Exercise
Exercise can improve our physical health in many ways and most of those benefits are gained with only moderate levels of activity. Deep breathing combined with slow, gentle movements have been shown to be superior to aerobic exercise in improving physical function and promoting a sense of wellbeing. You don’t need to follow an intense daily exercise regimen. Variety, very much like food, is what your body will appreciate. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai chi are all great options.
Fulfil the 3 C’s: Comprehension, Commitment and Confidence
· Comprehension – understand why it’s important to exercise regularly by talking with your doctor or by reading about exercise. This will provide a strong base for your commitment.
· Commitment – make a personal decision to make exercise a priority in your day’s activities. Write time for exercise in your diary — in ink.
· Confidence – set small, reasonable goals. Reward yourself whenever you find time to move not allowing small setbacks to sabotage your objectives.
The most efficient way to increase your physical activity is to make it part of your daily routines.
· Walk or bicycle to work or to the shops. If that’s not practical, park a little farther away (where the parking places are usually easier to find, thereby also reducing your stress level).
· Take the stairs especially if you’re going only one or two floors.
· Exercise with family or friends to provide social support and motivation.
· On holiday, walk rather than drive to see and experience the sights.
Regular movement keeps us healthy and alert. It boosts energy and mood thereby relieving stress. Most days go for a stroll, do some simple stretching at your desk and/or go to a class incorporating mindful movement. How will you move today?
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