Experts agree that there are many reasons to incorporate exercise into your daily, if not weekly, life. Some advantages include helping to quit smoking, helping to control weight, managing blood sugar, keeping learning skills sharp as you age, and improving your mental health and relative mood.
The recommended minimum amount of exercise, as per the Department of Health and Human Services, is at least 75 vigorous minutes of activity a week, 150 minutes of moderate activity, or a combination to each. It is highly recommended not to fulfill the entire weekly requirement within one or two days, they suggest spreading exercise out over the course of a week. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice, however. More exercise can mean more benefits but everyone is different and you don’t want to risk injury. In addition, choosing small bursts of activity, such as taking the stairs, will add up to help you in the long run. The general rule is to aim for a minimum of any type of activity for 30 minutes every single day. They don’t even need to be sequential – you can aim for five-minute walks that are spaced throughout the day.
Some examples of aerobic activity include brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, mowing the lawn and using indoor exercise machines like ellipticals and stair masters.
In addition to aerobic exercise, weight training is highly regarded as a great way to strengthen every muscle group. Choose a resistance level or weight that will tire your muscles after 12 to 15 repetitions, then do three sets. All major muscle groups should be trained at least twice a week.
In addition to getting up and moving, it’s important to be conscious of how long you sit. Studies show that blood clots can form if we are in a seated position for too long, so allow yourself to take a break and stretch or walk around a little each hour or so.
All of this movement will keep your mind engaged, as well as your physical being. Studies now show definitive evidence of sports affecting cognitive abilities long-term. Coordinated, team sports have been found to be the most effective when it comes to helping cognition. Complex movement patterns and social interaction with fellow players, in addition to endurance and strength training all combine to enhance one’s mental faculties more than just training alone.