Commit to Stay Fit
Many of us appreciate the summer months because we tend to get outdoors more often, enjoying a walk and feeling a deeper connection with nature. I congratulate the many residents who have completed the eight-week Matter of Balance sessions at Beacon House.
A cornerstone of this program is finding a way to increase our activities to strengthen muscles and bones to prevent falls. I’d like to suggest several ways to include physical activity on a regular basis.
First, we can adhere to an exercise plan more easily when it is convenient, close to home and requiring little travel time. How many are still holding on to a chair or countertop doing the simple exercises included in the Matter of Balance workbook? These exercises will increase flexibility and strengthen hips, thighs and upper bodies as well.
Walking with a pedometer or a watch is a great way to meet the challenge of two and a half hours of moderate exercise each week, as recommended in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Thirty minutes a day can get us there; break it up into two fifteen- minute walks. You might choose to have a goal of three ten-minute walks, or two ten-minute walks and ten minutes of stretching and stationary cycling.
There is strong evidence that we can not only prevent falls with regular exercise, but we can also lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and an adverse blood lipid profile. Burning calories on regular basis will prevent weight gain, and combined with dietary changes can result in weight loss.
Two of my favorite benefits of exercise are the ability to improve one’s mood, reducing depression and stimulating the brain for improved cognitive functioning. Accepting this challenge to exercise regularly, taking a deep breath, and remembering that some activity is better than none will bring about positive results in our bodies and minds.