Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. If you are worried about getting hurt or doing too much, the good news is that most exercises and fitness programs can be modified to suit your level and age. The key is to start slow and gradually increase your level of activity. The risk goes up if you don’t usually get much physical activity and then all of a sudden do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, like shoveling snow. Most people are not getting enough physical activity and doctors are now starting to PRESCRIBE exercise! The current guidelines state that people should get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Remember, this is the MINIMUM. It is important to include both aerobic exercises and strength training in these 150 minutes. It can be split in 30 min per day and even 15 min at a time but no less than that.
Here are some reasons why physical fitness is important:
Helps to control weight
This is an obvious one but you must remember that both diet and physical activity play a critical role in controlling your weight. You gain weight when the calories you burn, including those burned during physical activity, are less than the calories you eat or drink. When it comes to weight management, people vary greatly in how much physical activity they need. You may need to be more active than others to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Reduces Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in Canada but following the guidelines listed above, you can significantly reduce your chances of falling victim to these diseases. Regular physical activity can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.
Reduces your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which you have some combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar. Research shows that lower rates of these conditions are seen with 120 to 150 minutes (2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of at least moderate-intensity aerobic activity. And the more physical activity you do, the lower your risk will be.
Already have type 2 diabetes? Regular physical activity can help control your blood glucose levels.
Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers
Being physically active lowers your risk for two types of cancer: colon and breast. Research shows that:
- Physically active people have a lower risk of colon cancer than do people who are not active.
- Physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than do people who are not active.
Reduce your risk of endometrial and lung cancer. Although the research is not yet final, some findings suggest that your risk of endometrial cancer and lung cancer may be lower if you get regular physical activity compared to people who are not active.
Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles
As you age, it’s important to protect your bones, joints, and muscles. Not only do they support your body and help you move, but keeping bones, joints, and muscles healthy can help ensure that you’re able to do your daily activities and be physically active. Research shows that doing aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening physical activity of at least a moderately-intense level can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age.
Hip fracture is a serious health condition that can have life-changing negative effects, especially if you’re an older adult but people who do 120 to 300 minutes of at least moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week have a lower risk of hip fracture.
Regular physical activity helps with arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints. If you have arthritis, doing 130 to 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, low-impact (like swimming or dancing)aerobic activity can not only improve your ability to manage pain and do everyday tasks, but it can also make your quality of life better.
Improve Your Mental Health and Mood
With our long winters, we often find ourselves a bit down and low on energy. Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp. It can also reduce your risk of depression, help boost your energy, help your sex life and help you sleep better.
So no matter what your age is or your fitness level, the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks. We recently sat down with Burlington’s award-winning personal trainer and gym owner Jan Vlachy of JV Pro Fitness to talk about what he thinks is the most important thing to keep in mind when trying to stay active. Here is what he had to say:
Consistency -A healthy lifestyle needs consistency, in order to be successful. Do you have goals? Need to write these goals down on paper and reflect at the end of each week.. Evaluate. Can you do better?
Whether it’s weight-loss, muscle tone, general fitness, post-injury, it needs consistency. If you can do better, make a small change. Commit to what you’re doing if you’re serious about your goals.. turn up the intensity, hire a professional to keep you accountable, bring a friend, surround yourself with the right support group. If you miss your workout, make it up. If you didn’t do so well last time, do better next time. If you’re not noticing a change, make a change. Are you helping or harming your body with the food you eat? All these things need reflection. It can be yoga, personal training, physio, chiro, they should all be approached with a similar attitude.
To be as healthy as can possibly be…be the best version of yourself!”
Since many of our patients see Jan and are happy with the results, we also asked Jan to outline his services in greater detail for the benefit of anyone who might be interested in starting a program:
“At JV Pro Fitness we offer a FREE consultation/assessment where we discuss your goals and how to make it possible. This includes a weigh-in, measure and 30-minute body-weight workout.Workouts are tailored to your level and age.
Personal Training is usually for the beginner, who maybe have never tried fitness, or has been inactive for a long period of time. Personal Training is also the best way to keep fit. Depending on the fitness level, it can be a gentle approach or a grueling 30 minutes.
Bootcamps at JV Pro Fitness are recommended for those who’ve been active or been involved with Personal Training at the studio. They are 60 minutes in length with a cool down stretch at the end. Not necessarily double the work from Personal Training, it has more downtime and more people to share space so it may give you more breathing time.”
Currently, JV Pro Fitness is offering a deal on the Bootcamp sessions: 5 free sessions with the purchase of 10!! If you’d like to try a class with Jan or would like to try a free assessment with him, you can email Jan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jvprofitness.comfor more info.