Planned and spontaneous exercise both have health benefits

Making physical activity a part of your routine or seizing any opportunity to move can both be good for your health.

Physical activity can be made a part of your routine or it can be spontaneous, both can be part of an active lifestyle. Starting or ending a day walking the dog or attending an exercise class is a wonderful part of creating healthy habits. Along with daily activities like these it can also be nice to take advantage of good weather and get outdoors for some spontaneous physical activity like going for a bike ride, a swim or hike.

Not only can physical activity be enjoyable but it can also benefit your health in a variety of ways. Here’s a list of ways exercise can make you healthier from the USDA’s Eat Smart, Live Strong program:

  1. Prevent or delay the effects of chronic disease
  2. Feel better mentally and physically
  3. Decrease stress, anxiety and depression
  4. Help control weight
  5. Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints
  6. Improve strength
  7. Increase balance and reduce the risk of falling
  8. Improve sleep

Starting today, whether you’re in your seat or laced-up in tennis shoes, there is something you can do to add more minutes of physical activity to your day. Cost can be low and rewards can be high. Consider using canned foods as weights while walking in place or visiting an indoor facility you can walk or run laps in. Your local senior center can be a great resource for low-cost classes and groups focused on improving their health.

A huge part of success in any area of life starts by setting goals. Something as simple as finding out the hours of a swim facility can lead to going and then increase to going twice a week all the way up to five days a week. Or starting with five repetitions of chair exercises and building to seven and then 10. Some folks benefit from logging their activity on a calendar or in a journal as a way to track their success and holding themselves accountable.

Staying active at any size or age is possible and resources are available from Michigan State University Extension, health departments, physicians’ offices and your local commission on aging.

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