By: Kelly Stranburg, CEO of Excellence in Wellness
Each October brings the awareness of the importance of regular screenings for breast cancer as well as honoring survivors and remembering those who lost the battle from this terrible disease. Cancer in all its’ various forms impacts each of us and ideally, we want to adopt lifestyle behaviors that can fight chronic disease and support the prevention of cancer or the reoccurrence of cancer.
One lifestyle factor that can be of great benefit for various reasons, which we have all read and heard about a million times, is physical activity or exercise. The latest edition of The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lists key guidelines for adults as the following:
- For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.
- Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
- Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
Yet in these fast times of balancing work, family, friends, and more, our own self-care often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities. There is a milieu of reasons as to why we choose to abstain from daily exercise, but this critical element of a healthy lifestyle can stave off more than just disease. It can help us manage stress, sleep better, improve cardiovascular health, maintain independence and mobility, and be more alert and focused as well as fight chronic disease. And that is just a short list of benefits!
Identifying obstacles to exercise in advance and problem solving how to adhere to your exercise regimen can help. What prevents you from exercising? Are you tired? Did you not pack your clothes last night? Is it boring? Do you need a workout partner? Figuring out what keeps you from not performing exercise and then coming up with potential solutions to try out may assist you in keeping your personal commitment. Trained professionals, like certified personal trainers and health coaches, can also be of great support. No matter where you are in your self-care and health journey remain positive and know there are approaches and solutions to keep you active and moving for overall well-being and health benefits.