Becoming More Active

People spend a lot of time sitting these days. It may be at a desk at your job, or it may be in front of a computer or a TV. Sitting has been compared to smoking in that it may be just as bad for your health.

The human body was designed by nature to move and do work. Back in the time before civilization and among primitive tribes today the resting posture was and is a low squat. People kept on their feet and on the move to find food. If you want to become more active the first thing you need to do is get out of your chair and onto your feet.

If you are out of shape or overweight, the best thing you can do to improve your health is to start walking. Walking is low impact, it is something most people can do, and it gets your body moving. A set of hand weights can be used to get your upper body into motion or you can just swing your arms. In fair weather a walk in the park can be the highlight of the morning or afternoon. Walking requires no extraneous equipment and it doesn’t put much strain on your cardiovascular system.

Gardening is not only an enjoyable pastime, it can also provide high-quality food for your diet. Digging over a plot, breaking up the clods with a hoe or a rake, planting crops or flowers, weeding and harvesting all require a fair amount of physical labor. When the weather is good you will get fresh air and sunshine and you will improve the look of your yard.

A bicycle can be a good means not only of transportation but of exercise. A bike makes longer journeys under your own power take much less time and effort than walking. If you ride on the road you should be sure to wear safety equipment like a helmet and obey traffic regulations to avoid injury and accident. There are many types of bicycle, and the choice you make will depend on what type of riding you plan to do.

Winter provides some opportunities for physical activity. Here in the North we get a fair amount of snow each season, and snow has to be shoveled and brushed off vehicles. The temperature is cold, so you should dress warmly in layers. Also, throwing shovels of snow around takes some effort, so you will have to pace yourself, especially if you have any medical condition.

Perhaps the best investment a person who wants to become more active can make is in a set of adjustable dumbbells or a barbell and bench. Weightlifting stimulates muscle growth and improves both joint and bone health. There is no reason for the average person to attempt to lift heavy weights, but higher repetitions with lighter weights can build both strength and endurance. As we get older muscle tends to waste away. Using weights to stimulate muscle growth is helpful to maintain physical function.

There is an old saying that you either “use it or lose it.” If you sit all day staring at a screen you are not utilizing much of your body’s potential. Make it a habit to get up and move around once in a while if you must sit for extended periods. Get a hobby that requires physical work, or take up a sport that will require physical activity. You may wear out more shoes this way, but you should be using your body to accomplish tasks instead of mindlessly watching inconsequential garbage and allowing your muscles to waste away.

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