“If exercise were a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world.” (Emory University School of Medicine) Of all the things we can do for our health, few are more generally helpful than physical exercise.
Exert yourself. Leading a physically active life can help us feel happier, think more clearly, have more energy, be more productive and, along with proper diet, control our weight. Exercise need not be painful or extreme to be effective. Regular periods of moderate exercise several times a week can be very beneficial.
Jogging, brisk walking, biking, and taking part in active sports—enough both to get your heart beating faster and to cause you to break a sweat—can improve your endurance and help to prevent heart attack and stroke. Combining such aerobic exercise with moderate weight training and calisthenics helps to strengthen your bones, internal muscles, and limbs. These activities also contribute to maintaining a higher metabolism, which automatically helps to control your weight.
Exercise can be enjoyable
Use your feet. Exercise is beneficial for people of all ages, and membership in a gym is not required to get it. Simply using your feet instead of a car, bus, or elevator is a good start. Why wait for a ride when you can walk to your destination, perhaps even arriving there faster? Parents, encourage your children to participate in physical play, outdoors whenever possible. Such activity strengthens their bodies and helps them to develop whole-body coordination in ways that sedentary entertainment, such as video games, cannot.
No matter how old you are when you start, you can benefit from moderate physical exercise. If you are older or have health problems and have not been exercising, it is wise to consult a doctor about how to begin. But do begin! Exercise that is started gradually and not overdone can help even the oldest among us to maintain muscle strength and bone mass. It can also help seniors to avoid falls.
Exercise is what helped Rustam, mentioned in the first article of this series. Seven years ago, he and his wife began jogging a little each morning, five days a week. “At first, we made excuses not to go,” he relates. “But having a partner helped to motivate both of us. Now it has become a good, enjoyable habit.”