JUNE AND HEALTH AND FITNESS
JUNE IS A GREAT TIME TO CELEBRATE FAMILY HEALTH AND FITNESS!
Physical activity is a necessary part of healthy aging. The National Recreation and Park Association(NPRA) promotes the importance of health and physical fitness with special events planned for the second Saturday in June each year.
FITNESS BENEFITS BOTH OUR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Exercise keeps us physically it. It helps improve our heart and lung functions, as well as strengthening muscles and bones. Even with physical limitations, you can maintain and improve your abilities by staying active. Inactivity on the other hand may lead to or cause, some illnesses. For example, falls and fractures related to poor balance, can result from unused or weakened muscles. Obesity resulting from a sedentary lifestyle can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
Being active not only benefits us physically but emotionally as well. Getting your blood pumping increases your energy level and improves your overall sense of well-being. It gives you vitality and may improve your sleep. Exercise helps reduce feelings of depression and may also enhance your mood and cognition.
STAY FIT BY INCLUDING ALL 4 TYPES OF EXERCISE
Endurance or aerobic exercises help to improve your overall level of energy. They increase your heart and breathing rates to strengthen your heart and lungs and allow you to stay active longer without tiring out. Endurance exercise includes brisk walking, swimming, biking, or anything that elevates your heart rate.
Strength exercises make you stronger. They work your arm and leg muscles to make activities such as climbing stairs, carrying grandchildren, or doing housework easier. Strength exercises can be done using weights or dumbbells or using your own body weight. If using dumbbells, start with lightweights such as 2-3 pounds, to prevent injury. Strength exercises include arm curls, push-ups, squats, or lunges and focus on specific muscles.
Flexibility exercises include stretching your muscles to increase resilience and help keep you limber. Stretch by reaching overhead and leaning side to side or leaning over to touch your toes. Stretching is important to do before other exercises to “warm-up” muscles and reduce injuries and strain.
Balance exercises help prevent falls and maintain your ability to safely climb stairs. Try standing on one foot while focusing on a point ahead. Also standing up from a seated position helps to improve balance.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE IS ENOUGH?
Most experts agree we should exercise 30 minutes a day 5 days per week. Exercise should be moderate such as brisk walking or bicycling. The key is deciding what works best for you and finding an activity that you enjoy doing. If the activity becomes a chore, you are likely to quit. Start out slowly when beginning, to avoid overdoing and injury. If you haven’t exercised in a while, it is best to check with your health professional for any limitations.
Setting goals helps keep you on track. It also helps maintain your motivation to keep going and hit those targets. Be careful not to set goals that are unrealistic to prevent feelings of failure and wanting to give up.
Keep a log from week to week to show your progress and achievements. For instance, if your routine is a 2-mile walk each day, mark the time it takes to complete it. Then each day log your time and set a goal, to reduce it by 1 minute every 2 to 3 weeks.
BEFORE YOU START OUT
If you are going for a walk, mark your route. Using your car or a Fitbit-type device with a GPS, map out the distance. Be sure to stay in an area that is familiar.
Clothing should be always be comfortable and loose-fitting. Wear layers that can be easily peeled off, to maintain your comfort level as your body warms up.
Pay attention to your shoes. Are they comfortable and offer good arch support? Make sure they are wide enough to allow your foot to move from side to side but not too loose to rub and cause blisters. They should never be tight. If you are hiking on uneven terrain, shoes should be sturdy and give you good traction.
Do you need any equipment? A watch and phone are good to have with you for both safety and emergency. Listening to music with a headset adds entertainment and makes the time pass quickly!
SAFETY TIPS FOR HEALTH AND FITNESS
Drinking fluids and staying hydrated are essential when engaging in physical activity and exercising. Keep a water bottle with you and sip from it as you go. Electrolyte replacement drinks such as Gatorade are beneficial when exercise is strenuous, however, plain water is best for moderate exercise. Avoid sweetened drinks or those with caffeine.
Make sure you carry identification with you in the event of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to exercise with a friend. The “buddy system” is not only a safety measure but also adds to the fun!Be wary of traffic. Drivers don’t always notice pedestrians. You can increase your visibility by wearing bright colors or reflective clothing. If bike riding, be conscious of bike lanes and know the proper cycle hand signals. Always wear a protective helmet.
HAVE FUN AND STAY MOTIVATED TO MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH ANDFITNESS
-Include the family. Volunteer to take your toddler grandchildren on walks or stroller rides. At the park, pushing children on the swings, playing jump rope, or a game of catch, are fun ways to changeup your exercise routines. Older children might want to join you on a bike ride or help out in the garden. Invite adult children for a round of golf or a game of tennis.
-Change with the season.Take advantage of nice weather to engage in outdoor activities. As the weather cools, get out and rake the leaves. Or start your holiday shopping early and walk the length of indoor malls. In the winter, consider indoor activities such as bowling or an exercise or dance class. If you enjoy cold weather, build a snowman with your grandchildren or try ice skating!
-Celebrate your successes. Maybe you’re walking faster than when you started out. Or, you aren’t tiring as easily as before. Pat yourself on the back for sticking with your exercise regime and keep at it!
This year Family Health & Fitness Day will be held on June 12, 2021. Check the National Recreation and Parks website for activities in your area. https://www.nrpa.org/events/family-tness-day/