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Johnson: May is national fitness and sports month – The Hutchinson News

Posted: May 25, 2021 at 1:53 am

Ken Johnson| Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System

Life is full of choices, yet there seems to be one that will never let you down: choosing to be physically active. This decision will always be in your favor.

Thats how the Federal Occupational Health Center sums up the mandate to observe May as National Fitness and Sports Month, a time to reflect on how we might stay active and healthy, especially as we move to a new normal following a worldwide pandemic.

With exercise, like many tasks, we get out of it what we put into it. But good news: Experts agree that you dont have to work out for hours daily, and in fact, more isnt always better. Richard Cotton with the American Council on Exercise suggests beginners start walking five to ten minutes daily and gradually move up to 30 minutes or more. A walking routine reduces risk for high blood pressure and many cancers, relieves stress, improves your mood, creates movement competence, boosts immunity, enhances brain function, and strengthens bones and muscles.

While I can think of many more, here are 10 basic benefits to exercise:

1. Exercise can make a person happier, because it produces changes in areas of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety.

2. Exercise increases your metabolic rate, which burns calories and increases weight loss.

3. Aging produces a loss of muscle mass and function. Physical activity reduces muscle loss and maintains strength regardless of age.

4. Your bones will be as strong as your muscles demand. Regular resistance exercise increases density in both!

5. Exercise increases energy level. Six weeks of physical exercise significantly reduces feelings of fatigue.

6. Lack of exercise may cause the onset of numerous chronic diseases. On the other hand, exercise decreases blood sugar levels and decreases blood pressure along with blood fat levels.

7. Moderate exercise can provide antioxidant protection and promote blood flow, which can protect skin and delay signs of aging.

8. An exercise habit can positively boost brain health and memory including thinking skills. Exercise has been shown to reduce changes in the brain that cause Alzheimers Disease.

9. Regular physical activity, whether it is aerobic or a combination of aerobic and resistance training, can produce better quality sleep resulting in increased energy during the day.

10.Exercise may reduce chronic pain associated with a number of medical conditions. Also, exercise can increase pain tolerance.

But how to stay motivated?! Heres some encouragement from the Mayo Clinic:

1. Start an exercise program with realistic and simple goals. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.

2. Make it fun. You are more apt to stick with a program that is enjoyable. Try a sport-related activity (like tennis or basketball), or find a group fitness opportunity, set it to music, and go!

3. Schedule physical activity as part of your daily routine and dont make excuses. Sitting for a long period of time may negatively affect your health. If your job requires a lot of sitting, take regular breaks to move around.

4. Put your goals to paper and keep an exercise diary. Recording your efforts and tracking progress can help you achieve goals and be a reminder that progress is being made.

5. Youre not alone. Join forces with neighbors, co-workers or friends. Theyll keep you accountable, and you them.

6. Reward yourself after each exercise session and take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise provides. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise.

7. Be flexible. If youre too busy to work out or simply dont feel up to it, take a day or two off. Go easy on yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get moving again.

There is no better time than today to start an exercise program, so lets all get started. When the time comes around next year to observe National Fitness and Sports Month, we will be enjoying the benefits of a new habit with no downside. We, our families, friends and co-workers will be amazed by the positive changes resulting from a few hours of increased activity each week. We have so much good health in our future.

Ken Johnson is the president and CEO ofHutchinson Regional Healthcare System.

Originally posted here:
Johnson: May is national fitness and sports month - The Hutchinson News

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