The importance of physical activity

by Agnieszka Dębowska

“Those who have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

Studies show that limited physical activity contributes significantly to the development of obesity, metabolic diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. The same studies show that the average person spends about 15 hours a week watching television, and only 7 hours for physical activity. These are scary statistics.

It’s worth getting active and taking care of your physical health every single day. But what does this really entail? Give up the elevator and take the stairs, get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk to work/school, go for a walk with your family after dinner/lunch, cycle to work/school and generally incorporating more physical activities and movement into daily life.

Why is it worth being active every day?

There are a lot of reasons but in my opinion, there are 2 main reasons:

  • Regular physical activity is one of the most important factors regulating carbohydrate metabolism and results in lowering blood glucose and improving the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin.
  • Physical activity improves your overall well-being, has beneficial effects on mental (and emotional) health, helps reduce body fat and weight, and thus helps prevent many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, metabolic diseases, etc prevalent in our modern lives.

 

What physical activity should you choose if you have insulin resistance?

Just starting to exercise might be a huge change for you, so by asking yourself the following questions first may help shift your attitude:

  • What do you enjoy doing? Dancing, cycling, swimming, volleyball, football, Zumba? Choose something that gives you pleasure.
  • What is the current state of your health? How old are you? How much do you weigh? If you suffer from any serious health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases or anything that you are concerned about, please consult with a professional doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting and discuss the best fitness program suited to you.
  • Do you have financial restrictions? If you don’t want to, or can’t afford to pay for a pool or gym membership, don’t despair. Invest in a good pair of sports shoes and go for a walk or light run around your neighbourhood, or better yet out in nature. There are many exercise options for you to choose from without having to pay anything at all. Be creative in your approach.
  • What are your skills? Choose an activity you’re already familiar with and enjoy. If you’re looking for a new challenge and want to learn something new, there are many options available with online programs best suited to learning at your own pace.
  • What is your recovery period like? Do you know how important it is to relax and rest? It’s important to remember that daily physical activity doesn’t mean heavy strength training or running every day. Your body and mind need time to rest and recover. So if you have a hard workout planned on Monday then take a gentle walk or yoga class on Tuesday. Alternating your routine also keeps things interesting. Remember that by taking 10 thousand steps a day is a great preventative step and promotes vitality, and 12 thousand steps will help you shed that excess weight.

Make changes today

Don’t wait until tomorrow to make significant, and vital changes in your life, start right now! If you are sitting behind a desk, get up and go drink glass of water, do some light stretching, or go talk to a friend from the next room. Instead of sending another email or scheduling a meeting with your boss, go to his/her office and see if you can talk with them now. No? That’s a shame but at least you’ve added more steps to your pedometer. Get off your couch and so 10 jumping jacks. After throwing out the garbage start dancing around your living room. So simple, right? So stop finding more excuses and start taking care of your physical health daily. You don’t need a lot of time to integrate more physical fitness into your day. Just 30 min a day is enough to stay healthy, promote longevity and help prevent many diseases.

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