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The Importance of Exercising

May is not only dedicated to mental health, but also Physical Fitness & Sports. Along with tips about mental health we will also be sharing information regarding physical fitness and how it improves our well-being. In the article below, Physical Therapy Director Ashley Koppenhafer shares why exercising is important for everyone at any stage of life and even how it benefits our mental health.

To exercise, or not to exercise?  This should not be a question!  Exercise provides so many physical and mental health benefits to promote a happy, healthy life.  Exercise can take on many forms.  You should explore the various options, and decide which one you enjoy and feel you can incorporate into your life.  If you do not enjoy it, then you most likely will not stick with it.

Exercise is for everyone!  All ages, shapes and sizes can benefit from exercise.  Here are some of the major benefits of exercise:

  1. Boosts mental well-being and overall brain health
  2. Aids weight loss
  3. Increases energy level
  4. Reduces risk of many chronic diseases (ie. diabetes and cancer)
  5. Improves sleep quality
  6. Reduces musculoskeletal pain by improving muscle function and bone density

These benefits contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle at any stage of life.  Even a small amount of exercise per day will have long lasting positive effects on your body and brain.

You do not need to run a marathon to be healthy.  Exercise encompasses cardiovascular and muscular work.  You can address these two areas through high impact gym training, walking in your neighborhood, attending a yoga class, using resistance bands at home, swimming, playing a sport with your child or other various physical activities.  According to the Department of Health and Human Services, everyone should try to do the following:

  1. 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week
  2. Strength train at least 2 days per week

You should also incorporate stretching exercises before and/or after every physical activity to prevent injury.  These guidelines can be altered depending on your personal goals.

If you have never exercised before, it would be beneficial to talk to your primary care provider or a physical therapist to determine what types of exercise and parameters would be appropriate for you.  There are many ways to be active, and it will vary from one person to the next.  It is important to pick an activity that makes you feel good both physically and mentally.

Valley-Wide Health Systems is committed to providing information conducive to a healthy active lifestyle. For more information and to discuss your wellness journey with a provider visit us at vwhs.org.