There’s no doubt that exercise is associated with positive outcomes for a slew of different conditions including but not limited to: high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, different cancers, osteoarthritis, dementia, and depression. There are studies being conducted all the time that continue to reinforce these benefits and the importance of fitting it in to our regular routines. The problem isn’t that people are unaware of the benefits of exercise, but that they don’t know where to start. Add in the challenges of winter, and people can find more than enough excuses to put off being active until the snow melts.
The Canadian Society of Exercise Physiologists (CSEP) sets and updates guidelines for Canadians based on the best evidence available. Current guidelines recommend that adults aged 18-64 aim to achieve 150 minutes of moderate - vigorous physical activity each week. On first glance, those numbers seem daunting, especially if you look at them as a starting line. For those just beginning to introduce activity into their daily routine, it is best to see these as a guideline to work towards rather than something you need to achieve immediately. Research has shown benefits with the introduction of even small amounts of activity. It all helps, so where do you start?
Some people believe physical activity has to be structured, however adding in active choices throughout your day all makes a difference. This is especially true through winter, when exercise may seem like the last thing you want to do. Whether it’s taking the stairs at work, parking a little further from the store entrance, or going for a 10 minute walk during lunch, it all adds up. Have a think about your daily routine and see if there is anywhere you can substitute a few active options.
If you’re looking to be a bit more adventurous and don’t mind braving the outdoors, there are lots of options available for you to try aside from walking. Snow shoeing or cross country skiing are great ways to get out, stay active, and take advantage of some of the beautiful trails and scenery we have available in the area. Don’t have the equipment? Most municipal offices across Nova Scotia carry snow shoe rentals that you can try before deciding whether or not you want to invest in some. Cross country skis can be rented at ski hills across the province and used on their extensive trail networks.
If the cold isn’t your thing and you can’t be bothered to go outside, there are several active indoor options available including local indoor walking tracks, fitness facilities, and pools - offering options for people of all abilities.
No matter which option you choose, we have two final pearls to help increase your chances of success. First is to grab a neighbour, friend, family member and get involved together. Having someone else to be active with and accountable for can help make it fun, social, and long lasting. Second is to document or log your activity. Seeing your achievements in a journal or calendar can be fulfilling and motivating.
If you want to learn more about how to increase your activity levels, or are struggling with an injury that may hinder your activity, don’t hesitate to contact us at 902-530-3553 or by e-mail at email@example.com.