Get Moving for Good Health
Ask any doctor about how to maintain and improve your health and without a doubt, regular physical activity is sure to make the Top 10 list. Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that just 20 percent of adults meet the recommended physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
The CDC recommends adults age 18 to 64 get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity — such as brisk walking— each week. Activities that strengthen muscles — such as weight training — should be enjoyed at least two days a week.
According to the CDC, there are 10 immediate and long-term benefits of becoming more physically active:
1. Improves sleep quality. In fact, NorthBay Health sleep specialist Pulmonologist Donald Doyle, M.D., says a good night’s sleep can improve your health overall and “exercise is an elixir for stress and insomnia, helping to eliminate toxins and restore your body.” The CDC notes that regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and stay asleep.
2. Reduces feelings of anxiety and stress. The CDC’s Guidelines for Physical Activity report notes that being active holds great promise as a means for preventing and treating common mood disorders that are a significant source of disability, lower quality of life, and increased health care burden. And it’s good for kids, too, said NorthBay Health pediatrician Bruce Hewett, M.D. “Physical activity can boost mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep for your kids,” he said. “It can also improve focus, school performance and energy levels. Encourage your children to be active every day – and be a good role model by joining in the fun and enjoying activities together.”
3. Reduces blood pressure. According to the CDC, even a single bout of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity will reduce blood pressure. That’s important, notes NorthBay Health family medicine physician Kevin Xunan, D.O. “Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a silent killer,” he said. “Exercise regularly, reduce stress, quit smoking.”
4. Reduces risks of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The CDC notes that exercise can help improve all aspects of cognitive function.
5. Reduces risk of depression. Regular physical activity not only reduces the risk of clinical depression but reduces depressive symptoms, the CDC noted.
6. Lowers risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise helps to reduce blood cholesterol and glucose levels, the CDC explained. NorthBay cardiologist Jeffrey Breneisen, M.D., agreed, saying simply, “Keeping your heart healthy means keeping yourself physically active.”
7. Lowers risk of certain cancers, including breast, colon and lung cancers. A 2008 report from the CDC found that regular activity reduced the risk of breast and colon cancer and in 2018 the list was expanded that list to include a reduced risk for cancers of the bladder, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung and stomach. “There are some healthy habits that can help reduce your risks of breast cancer: Maintain a healthy weight, stay physically active, eat fruits and vegetables, do not smoke and try to limit alcohol consumption,” added NorthBay oncologist Jessica Powers, M.D.
8. Reduces risk of weight gain. The CDC reported that strong evidence demonstrates that more physical activity is associated with preventing or minimizing excessive weight gain in adults, maintaining weight within a healthy range and preventing obesity.
9. Improves bone health. Keeping bones, joints, and muscles healthy can help ensure that you’re able to do your daily activities and be physically active. “Want to avoid knee pain and injury?” asked NorthBay orthopedic surgeon Neil Pathare, M.D. “The key is to stay active, eat a well-balanced diet, exercise and keep your weight down. These steps will help with any joint issues and your general health as well.”
10. Reduces risks of falls. Those who do exercises that make legs stronger have improved balance, the CDC noted.
There are lots of ways to add physicial activity to your life, and one is to join a fitness center. NorthBay Health has teamed up with Active Wellness to reopen its three-story, 53,500-square-foot fitness center, which anchors the VacaValley Wellness Center at 1020 Nut Tree Drive. It will offer a wide variety of training and fitness programs when it opens this summer.
Learn more about the reopening of Active Wellness at NorthBay. Talk with your doctor for more advice on how to add forms of movements throughout your day that can help you stay or get back to being active.