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Staying Active

In the previous blog, we touched on the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between our physical, mental, and social health. This time we will be exploring more about our physical health, specifically physical activity. As we age, our body goes through a lot of changes. With that, we begin to experience physical changes that impede us to continue doing certain physical activities as we used to, especially when there is a lack of exercise. Being physically active is one essential thing you can do for your health. It also carries several benefits in different aspects, not just the physical. What do the experts have to say about this? According to the CDC [1], “It is vital for healthy aging and can reduce the burden for chronic diseases and prevent early death.” Here are some of the benefits, options available, and tips on how to get motivated!

What are some benefits of physical activity?

  • Health: It Improves your overall health.

  • Weight: Aides in maintaining a healthy weight, and in some cases, depending on the type of activity and the duration, it also helps with weight loss.

  • Illness: Reduces the probability of getting sick by helping the whole system function better.

  • Bones and muscles: Helps your muscles and bones grow stronger, giving you the ability to perform other tasks that otherwise would not be possible or would be complicated.

  • Energy: Gives a boost to your overall daily energy.

  • Mood: It improves your overall mood.

What types of activities can you perform, how often, and how long?

The activities depend on your personal choice and/or your physical abilities; one activity that is often recommended and provides many benefits is walking. When health care providers recommend walking as physical activity, it is not the usual walk we do around the house, work, or grocery store. This type of walking is supposed to be a physical activity that enhances your health; therefore, it should be brisk walking. Other options for activities are swimming, walking, yoga, running, cycling, dancing, or anything that you enjoy and are able to do. Regarding the time and the number of days it should be done depends on each individual; it varies due to health, goals, time available, physical abilities, and other reasons. But as a general rule, it is recommended to start with 30-minute physical activity about 3-5 times a week, and you can then decide what works for you, whether that is adding more time, more days, or keeping it as it is.

What can you do to motivate yourself?

  • Choose an activity you thoroughly enjoy

  • Think about an activity that you can perform well and is not too hard on your body

  • Set some goals, think about how often and for how long you can perform this activity, always keeping in mind the expert (health care providers) suggestions.

  • Plan it, choose the days you will be doing the physical activity and the time of the day.

  • Find a workout buddy…or not, some people enjoy the company of a friend or a person with similar interest when it comes to physical activities, while others prefer solitude for these activities.

  • Find someone to keep you accountable. Yes, an accountability partner will help to keep you motivated.

  • Make it happen! Only you have the power to make that choice and to keep going.

As we can see, staying active helps with many things when it comes to health, whether your goal is to keep a healthy weight, improve circulation, improve your energy, or even your mood, which is a way to start. The most important thing is to always listen to your body, do not force the body into something it is not ready to take on. Set some personal goals followed by a well-designed plan to guide yourself into achieving those goals. Although not always easy, creating this habit is of great importance as it plays such an essential role in your general health.

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