The Benefits of Exercise

Before beginning an exercise program, think of some realistic short-term and long-term goals. Depending on your beginning health/fitness level, your goals may include being able to walk to the mailbox, climb the stairs in your home without shortness of breath or bend over to tie your shoes. As your fitness level improves, you may set new goals.

“If exercise was a pill it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world. ” – Robert Butler, MD, former director of the National Institute on Aging

Benefits of Physical Activity

  • Improves heart function
  • Improves blood sugar
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Promotes independence
  • Increases socialization
  • Improves sexual function
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Decreases your risk of some cancers
  • Decreases your need for certain medications
  • Improves depression
  • Decreases pain
  • Decreases risk of developing dementia
  • Prolongs life

The best exercise is the one you will do consistently.

People often ask, “What is the best exercise for me?” Begin to think about the activities you enjoy – or enjoyed in the past. Exercise does not have to be a grueling 45-minute cardio workout at the gym. While some people enjoy working up a sweat at the gym, others may feel intimidated. Exercise includes activities like dancing, walking your dog, throwing a frisbee, gardening, hiking and swimming. It also includes outdoor games, such as basketball, badminton or volleyball. You have to determine what the best exercise is for you.

Exercise is safe, even for beginners and people with multiple medical problems.

It is recommended that people get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. That may be overwhelming for many – in fact, it may be unrealistic for some. However, if you have limited mobility, limited endurance or are confined to a chair, you can still increase your fitness level. If you cannot exercise for 30 minutes at a time, remember this: exercise is cumulative. You can break it down into multiple, short sessions of 1-10 minutes each.

If the most activity you can do to begin with is stand up from a seated position, set an alarm and stand up every 15 minutes. You will be amazed at the benefits from any increase in your fitness level. There are exercise plans for all levels of fitness.

Low-to-No Impact Exercises

  • Water exercises
  • Recumbent bikes
  • Elliptical trainer
  • Walking
  • Balance training
  • Strength training
  • Chair aerobics

Low-risk Physical Activity Tools

  • Exercise bands
  • Stability balls
  • Fitness watches

Search for videos on how to perform the above activities (for any fitness level) on Google, YouTube or Netflix. Additionally, the app store in your phone can provide exercise plans for people of all levels of fitness.

Weight Management: Pathways to Improving Your Health

Hattiesburg Clinic Weight Management will provide healthy tips and information each month. To be notified of an update via text message, opt in by texting the word WEIGHT to 57711.