By Dr. Janet Brill
Yippee! Spring has finally arrived, time to dust off the winter cobwebs and get some exercise…outside! Spring is a great time to organize your day-to-day schedules and that means penciling in active time. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. From reducing risk of heart disease to improving your sex life and increasing your longevity, exercise is the best medicine. And no marathons required! Did you know that dog owners are healthier people? That’s because the simple act of taking your dog on a daily walk will have untold health benefits. In fact, scientific research has shown that dog owners get in more exercise, and better quality exercise (walking faster and possibly covering more mileage), than people who simply walk or run on their own. Dog walkers are also more likely to stick to their fitness plans than those who walk with other humans or alone.
Whether or not you own a dog, here are five reasons why you should do some active time spring planning and pencil in walking into your daily calendar:
1. Exercise makes you happier! Scientific research has proven that exercise stimulates the release of those feel good brain hormones, endorphins. Plus regular exercise may help you feel good about your appearance which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
2. Exercise helps you control your weight—exercise burns calories and overweight is a result of eating too many calories and burning too few. If you have lost weight, exercise is the best medicine for keeping those pounds off.
3. Exercise increases your energy level—regular cardio exercise such as walking will improve your cardiovascular fitness level. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you will have more energy to go about your daily chores.
4. Exercise prevents disease—regular cardio exercise, such as walking, has been scientifically proven to prevent and treat a host of diseases such as cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke), metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, and certain types of cancer.
5. Exercise helps improve your balance—one of the most significant risks for elderly people is falling, which could lead to bone fractures and breaks. Walking helps tone muscles and balance exercises such as using a balance board will help.
March 20th is the first day of SPRING. The more moderate temperatures bring more opportunities to be outdoors and increase your physical activity. Take this time to WALK, WALK, WALK and you will be doing what it takes to improve your body and mind!
Best of health,