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Increase Activity for Weight Loss and Wellness

Being physically active every day is associated with a variety of health benefits, including weight loss, improved immune health and reduced risk of chronic disease. Even though most of us are aware of the benefits, we still follow relatively sedentary lifestyles.

The Problem with Sedentary Behavior

Approximately 80 percent of full-time employment opportunities in the United States are at a desk. Popular pastimes like video games, browsing the internet and watching TV require minimal movement.

Without making an effort to become more active, it is possible to remain seated for the majority of your day.

Sedentary behavior is partially to blame for the increase in obesity rates over the past 50 years, and is strongly associated with the increasing prevalence of chronic illness like heart disease and type-2 diabetes—especially among those who are overweight.

Lack of daily activity is also associated with higher risks of:

  • Cancer
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • High blood pressure

Improving Health with Regular Activity

Engaging in physical activity every day is a fundamental aspect of living a healthy lifestyle. If you are thinking of starting an exercise routine, remember to start slow. There are plenty of small steps you can take to become more active.

A well-rounded exercise program is made up of three components:

  • Aerobic activity: This is also known as cardiovascular activity and refers to anything that increases your heart rate. Walking, jogging and swimming are all good forms of aerobic activity.
  • Weight training activity: Also known as strength training, this includes body weight activities like push-ups and sit-ups, as well as weight lifting.
  • Flexibility training: Increasing flexibility improves range of motion, ability to balance and can reduce your risk of injury. Stretching is one form of flexibility training, and is highly recommended before and after other forms of workouts. Yoga and Pilates are both excellent forms of flexibility training.

Aim to include at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your schedule every day. To achieve this, you may want to consider ways you can move more throughout your day, even when you can’t dedicate time to exercise.

This is referred to as incidental activity, and it includes things like:

  • Walking instead of driving
  • Standing instead of sitting while completing basic tasks
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator

As you make an effort to become more active, you may consider using a personal monitoring device such as a pedometer or a heart monitor. These devices can help you track your level of activity throughout the day. This can make it easier for you to set and achieve your fitness goals.

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