Why Is Exercise Important?
As we get older and as our waistline broadens, our risk of getting Type 2 diabetes and other health-related diseases increases.
Some of us may even develop pre-diabetes — that’s when our blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Pre-diabetics are also at a higher risk of developing heart disease. The good news is that we can do something about it today — get active and make regular exercise part of your routine.
Physical Activity Is Not That Difficult
Many of us already know the benefits of being physically active. Yet we do not get started because we look at exercise as an incredibly ardous uphill task, and give up before we even start. The truth is, getting enough physical activity in a week may not be not as difficult as you think.
Just 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week (that’s only about 20 minutes a day) improves our heart health.
A moderately intense workout will cause your heart rate to beat at 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. As a general rule, you should be able to talk in sentences, but not sing.
Moderately intense activities include jogging, brisk walking, swimming or cycling. Feel free to start off with some low-intensity activities like strolling, and gradually increase the pace over time.
You could begin with a simple 15-minute walk every day, or a 20-minute slow jog at least three times a week. When you feel more confident, slowly build it up to the minimum 150 minutes a week.
Why Is Exercise Good for You?
Regular Exercise Helps Manage Your Weight
Regular physical activity helps our bodies burn calories. The more we exercise, the more calories we burn!
Along with a healthy and proper balanced diet, regular physical activity helps us maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also helps us lose weight by getting rid of excess fat — fat that may be clogging up our arteries and heart.
Aerobic activity requires fat to be used as a primary fuel source. Regular aerobic activity increases the total number of red blood cells and better circulates oxygen throughout the body, enabling us to burn body fat more efficiently.
Physical Activity Keeps Your Heart, Lungs and Bones Healthy
Physical activity improves blood circulation through our heart and lungs. Our heart muscles will also be strengthened and we might find ourselves with increased energy levels to do the things we enjoy.
Working on the major muscle groups in your body makes them stronger and more resilient. It also increases bone density, which can help prevent osteoporosis.
Exercising Makes You Feel Great
Physical activity also improves our emotional and psychological wellbeing. When we exercise, our body releases chemicals called endorphins.
These “feel-good” chemicals uplift our moods and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, resulting in less stress on our hearts.
It's Never Too Late to Reap the Benefits of Exercise
With just two to three hours of physical activity a week, we will be able to
- improve our moods to feel better,
- reduce our chances of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and
- enjoy a better quality of life.
Don’t miss out on the excellent health benefits that physical activity can bring you.
Which Physical Activity Is Good for Me?
You could start off with some light to moderate physical activity like walking, jogging, leisure cycling, and line dancing, swimming, rollerblading, cycling or playing football.
If you are already exercising regularly, you could also try out more vigourous forms of physical activity such as swimming laps, running, or rock-climbing.
You can even join the Health Promotion Board’s mall workouts! It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you get active and keep your heart pumping.
With so many activities available, you can choose how to exercise and not get bored. Select the type and intensity of physical activity to suit your interests. Remember — 150 minutes a week for a healthier heart!
Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practise caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!
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