There seems to be this misconception that in order to be considered “physically active” you have to practically live at the gym. Images of weightlifting buff bods and treadmill obsessed college students might flock to memory, further deterring someone you from even considering putting on a pair of running shoes, much less attending a fitness club or spin class. While it’s true that going to the gym can sometimes be intimidating, you don’t have to have a membership or post sweat-drenched selfies to your Instagram profile to be considered physically active. HealthNet Federal Services has some great tips for staying active, all of which serve to remind us that staying active comes in all forms of movement, gym or not.
Examples of physical activity are often overlooked or minimized in today’s health-obsessed era. Nevermind the fact that you mowed the lawn, washed your car, and then took the dog for a walk. If you didn’t log at least an hour of gym time, many would automatically write off the day as a wasted opportunity to stay in shape. Many times these sorts of activities offer plenty of physical movement and activity to be healthy. It’s a busy world we live in, where gym time isn’t always attainable. 2.5 hours of activity a week is suggested for adults by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services so work smarter, not harder, with everyday activities to maintain your health.
The benefits to even 2.5 hours of activity are numerous. You’ll lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Plus, type 2 diabetes and certain cancer risks will be lower as well. Psychologically, mild to moderate exercise can reduce depression, enhance sleep, mood, and self-esteem too. If you’re experiencing joint pain or are at risk of osteoporosis, regular activities can strengthen those joints and bones also.
So there you have it: Physical activity is for everyone. It doesn’t have to include grueling hours at they gym or intense physical repetitions that leave you gasping and cramping. Start with what you can do, maintain that level, and go from there. You’ll see and feel the benefits in no time, and your body will thank you in the long run.