How to Stay Active

February 9, 2012

Q: My days are so busy with work, home and shuttling kids to and from activities. How can I make time to be active?

A: There are so many health benefits to being active. Adults can improve their health and well-being, and have fun, by including moderate amounts of physical activity in their daily lives.

Two types of physical activity are beneficial: aerobic and activities for strength and flexibility. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily. If you already get 30 minutes of physical activity daily, you can gain more benefit if you increase that amount of time or take part in more vigorous activities. No matter what you do, you can do it all at once or spread it out over two or three times during the day.

Choose activities that you enjoy and that you can do regularly. Fit things into a daily routine, like gardening, housework, carrying groceries, or taking extra trips up and down the stairs. Others prefer a regular exercise program. Some do both. The important thing is to be physically active every day. 

Being physically active reduces the risk of developing or dying of heart disease. Other health benefits include building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints; building endurance and muscular strength; managing weight; controlling blood pressure; promoting psychological well-being and self-esteem; and reducing feelings of depression and anxiety.

When choosing an activity, see a health care provider if you have chronic health problems, are at high risk for heart disease, and are over 40 (for men) and 50 (for women).

Today’s expert is Rick Canlas, MD, sports medicine physician, ThedaCare Orthopedics Plus, New London.