Regular physical activity is one of the most important things to ensure long term health and agility. It can help in many ways, including:
- Control your weight
- Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improves your mental health and mood
- Improves your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you are an older adult
If you are unsure about becoming active or boosting your level of physical activity because you are afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activities such as brisk walking, is generally safe for most people. Start slowly. Cardiac events, such as a heart attack, are rare during physical activity. But the risk does go up when you suddenly become much more active than usual. For example, you can put yourself at risk if you don’t usually get much physical activity and then all of a sudden, do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, like fast-paced long distance run.
If you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, talk with your doctor to find out if your condition limits, in any way, your ability to be active. Then, work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities. What’s important is that you avoid being inactive. Even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is good for you.