Make Your Optimum Health Your New Year’s Resolution

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Riin Rehemaa
Social Media & Community Manager

We all know that regular physical activity can help improve your overall health, reduce your risk of various diseases, and make you feel better both mentally and physically. But with a busy lifestyle, it’s very easy to fall short of living up to these truths. Sometimes we just need a little reminder to get back on track and feel motivated again!

Let’s explore the various health benefits of exercising, from improving cardiovascular health to reducing stress levels and strengthening bones. 

We are never too young or too old to become active and make our health a priority. The start of a new year is the perfect time to make changes and commit to investing time and energy into your long-term health. Let’s start with a simple mindset change that says ‘’I have to exercise’’ to ‘’I get to exercise’’. Movement is medicine!

“There is no pill that comes close to what exercise can do,” says Claude Bouchard, director of the human genomics laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. “And if there was one, it would be extremely expensive.”

Exercise is known to have numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. It can improve cardiovascular health by increasing heart rate and decreasing blood pressure, as well as reducing the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. And did you know that exercising can even strengthen bones and muscles, improve flexibility, reduce stress levels, and encourage greater confidence?! Exercise also increases endorphins in the brain, which are responsible for boosting moods and enhancing overall well-being. There are so many reasons why exercising should be a regular part of your lifestyle.

There is no pill that comes close to what exercise can do to your health!

Claude Bouchard
Director of The Human Genomics Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center

What type of physical activity should be part of your daily life?

Different types of exercise have different advantages depending on individual goals, age, and health conditions. For those wanting to increase their strength or build muscle mass – weight training may be beneficial. Cardio exercises such as running or cycling can improve cardiovascular health and endurance, while activities like yoga and Pilates can help improve flexibility. For those wanting to lose weight, a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet are all important factors for success.

It goes without saying that you should be mindful of your health and body strength conditions before you begin. It is advised to consult with your doctor about your plans for physical activity changes if you have health concerns, so you won’t end up hurting yourself further. Salu can help out and assist you with that!

When starting an exercise program, it is important to be realistic about what you can achieve and what kind of time frame you will set for yourself. Start slowly and build up gradually as your fitness level increases, ensuring that you warm up before any exercise session and cool down afterwards. It is also important to set achievable goals so that you are more likely to stay motivated in the long run. Put your focus on short-term goals but have a vision for long-term health benefits. 

Exercise is one of the major pillars in the foundation of our health. But with limited knowledge about which type of physical activity to add to our daily life, we tend to think that only one or two different types of activities are good enough. In reality, we should be mixing up four different ways of movement – aerobics, stretching, strength, and balance exercises

1. Aerobic exercise

If you are out of breath walking up the stairs, that is a clear indication that you need aerobic exercise to help with your heart, lungs, and endurance. It will help your muscles get sufficient blood flow that improves your heart and lung health. Aerobic exercise also lowers blood pressure, relaxes blood vessel walls, burns body fat, reduces inflammation, and raises good HDL cholesterol levels. 

Adding walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, or any other aerobic exercises to your workout routine will help you reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes. 

2. Stretching

When we talk about optimum health, we need to think long-term. Stretching is an exercise that is overlooked when we are younger but is a highly valuable addition to our regime. Aging causes loss of flexibility in tendons and muscles. Our muscles shorten and stop working properly. This can lead to body pains, cramps, muscle damage, strains, and joint pain. 

Start stretching now, and your body will be thankful for years to come! As a beginner, start slow and get deeper into your stretches as time goes on and your body is more used to it. Aim to stretch at least 3-4 times per week.

3. Strength training

We need to use our strength for daily, simple tasks – such as carrying grocery bags, lifting heavier objects around the house or gardening. Having a body that feels good and can do necessary things without any struggles is important. That’s what regular strength training helps with. And did you know that strengthening your muscles also helps with bone growth, assists weight control, lowers blood sugar, and reduces pain in joints? 

You don’t need fancy gym equipment for strength training. Body-weight exercises are a good choice as well. Such as squats, lunges, or push-ups. But if you prefer to add some weights to your workouts, be mindful to get assistance from a trained professional who can guide you through every exercise. So your posture is correct, and you won’t end up hurting yourself. 

4. Balance exercises

As we age, the systems that help us keep our balance start to break down – inner ear, vision and muscles. So it is important to maintain good balance to avoid falls that can result in serious injuries. Training your balance can even prevent and reverse such breakdowns. 

The best way to work on your balance is with tai chi, pilates, or yoga. Consult with a physical therapist to get the best balance exercises for your needs.

In conclusion, exercise is one of the most important activities for maintaining good health. Different types of exercise can be tailored to different individuals in order to achieve specific goals. By making it part of your daily life, you can ensure that you are taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Consult with a doctor about which exercise routine fits best for your lifestyle and health conditions. Salu’s doctors can help you out! Don’t wait another year to become your favourite and healthiest version of yourself. Start today!

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