There are a lot of obscure holidays that don’t make it onto most people’s calendars. For example, Pi Day is celebrated every March 14th in honor of the first three digits of the mathematical constant, and International Talk Like a Pirate Day is celebrated every September 19th for those who deep down would rather be sailing and searching for buried treasure. While Pi Day and International Talk Like a Pirate Day don’t really offer much in the way of health advice, there are some days that encourage healthy living.
Today is Take a Walk In a Park Day. The post office is still open, there’s no exchanging of gifts, and you don’t get to take the day off work, but Take a Walk In a Park Day does offer some good advice. Being physically active is a necessary part of a healthy life style. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, regular exercise, and meeting with your primary care physician are the foundation of wellness.
Physical activity can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, prevent injury, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, improve mental health, reduce your risk of some cancers, strengthen bones and muscles, improve your ability to do regular daily activities, and increase your chances of living a longer and healthier life. There are two types of exercise that you need in order to improve your health, and maintain a good level of fitness.
Aerobic exercise provides numerous health benefits including increased respiratory health, increased cardiovascular health, improved mobility and flexibility, improved metabolic health, and reduced stress and anxiety. Aerobic exercise uses large muscle groups for extended periods of time and focuses on breathing and your body’s use of oxygenated blood. This includes activities such as walking, hiking, cycling, rowing, and swimming.
Muscle-strengthening improves the overall strength of your bones and muscles, which can help prevent injury and make it easy to carry out daily activities. This type of exercise typically focuses on major muscle groups such as the legs, arms, back, abdomen, hips, chest, and shoulders. This includes activities such as body weight exercise and weight lifting.
Both aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening are important for maintaining wellness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get no less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, and no fewer than 2 days of muscle-strengthening. You don’t have to fit all 150 minutes in a single session, and it can be more beneficial to be active 30 minutes a day, seven days a week rather than for 2 and a half hours once a week. The CDC recommends that if you break up your aerobic activity that you get at least 10 minutes of exercise at a time.
Of course, the more you exercise, and the more physically active you are, the better the health benefits will be. Taking a walk in the park is a great form of aerobic activity. Make the most of Take a Walk In a Park Day, and make today the start of a regular exercise routine.