It can be hard to get motivated in the winter when it’s cold, dreary and dark, and that throw blanket is just so comfy! The good news is, spring is here. So, step outside and take a long, deep breath of cool, fresh air.
Now listen closely. Do you hear what your muscles are telling you? That’s right. They are practically yelling at you to get active, get moving, go for a walk or resume your morning runs. Listen to them.
The Government of Canada recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 be active for at least two and a half hours per week. They recommend getting your heart rate up with some aerobic activity (also known as cardio) in spurts of at least 10 minutes at a time.
What are the benefits of aerobic exercise?
Even if you are not an athlete, doing cardio exercises regularly will benefit you in many ways. Regular exercise can improve your overall health and help you better manage any illness and disease. The list of benefits includes but is not limited to:
- Improving the strength of your heart and lungs
- Helping with weight loss and weight management
- Increases your stamina so you can do more things on a daily basis without feeling tired and sore
- Can help lower blood pressure
- Exercising releases endorphins which help you feel good and happy. Who doesn’t want to feel happier?
- Helps reduce stress because of those endorphins, too.
So to sum it all up, regular exercise will lead to a lighter, happier and healthier you! The best part is that you only need 10 free minutes at a time to reap these rewards.
Need some ideas for cardio activities?
Try any of the following, just remember to put in your best effort at whichever you choose in order to maximize the benefits.
- Dancing– Yes, dancing around your house counts as long as you dance for 10 minutes straight. So, put on some tunes and get your groove on!
- Skipping– Grab a rope, and get jumping. Throw on some fast-paced music for some motivation, or have a jump rope contest with a friend. You’ll get the chance to feel young again while keeping active.
- Swimming– The world is opening back up, so head on over to your local community center and go for a swim. Is a great aerobic activity that is easy on the joints, too. Swimming actually uses almost all of your muscles, so it’s not only a good aerobic activity but also a whole-body workout.
- Cycling– This is another activity that has many benefits. You work your muscles, raise your heart rate, enjoy the beauty of nature, improve your immune system and reduce stress levels with this one activity. So, even if you can only last 15 minutes, go for a ride and see how you feel afterward.
In an article titled “Health Reports: Ten-year trend in physical fitness among Canadian adults” Statistics Canada states that “High physical fitness is associated with many health benefits and is a strong predictor of future morbidity and mortality.”
It is never too late to develop healthy habits and positively impact your health. Start small, start simple, but start!
Great ideas, but when can I find the time?
It can feel impossible to find the time to get active in our busy lives, especially if you have a family to take care of. The key is to remember that you will be better able to care for others if you feel good! Many of the activities in the list above can be done in short bursts of time. Here are some ideas for when you can squeeze in a quick cardio session:
- During a 10-minute break at work.
- On your lunch hour.
- While doing dishes or housework, you can dance and clean while listening to music.
- After the kids go to bed.
- Before the kids wake up in the morning.
- In between Netflix episodes of your favourite tv show, get up and skip for 10 minutes.
- While watching tv, cycle on a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill.
- Take the kids with you for a bike ride, walk, run or for a swim after school or on a weekend.
And what about motivation?
There are a million ways to get motivated, the key is to find one that works for you. I can’t list all of the ways here, but here are two of the most common. Try them out, do some research, make some changes and do what works for you. It doesn’t really matter how you get motivated, so long as you are keeping active.
- Set a goal: For many people, having something to work towards is motivation to put in the work. This is especially true for those who consider themselves competitive. Just make a simple and easy goal to start with and increase it as you go.
- Find a friend: Working out or doing an activity with someone else is always more fun. When you have plans that include others, you will be less likely to break them, too. Imagine telling your 10-year-old that you will go for a bike ride after school and then backing out because you are too tired. Imagine your child’s reaction, the sadness and possibly the tears that would follow. It would be very hard to back out of that commitment, whereas if you were just planning to go by yourself, then it’s super easy to back out because you aren’t disappointing anyone else.
Why you should speak to your pharmacist
Pharmacists can help you be safe while active in a number of ways. Drop by the Riverbend pharmacy and speak to one of our pharmacists for personalized advice on how to be active and live a healthy lifestyle regardless of your medical history and circumstances. We always love to chat with our customers.
Here are some services that we offer that you may want to take advantage of this spring in your efforts to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle.
- Compression fitting: Compression stocking help to increase blood circulation by applying pressure to your legs and veins. Increased blood flow can help with leg pain caused by swelling, prevent varicose veins from forming and help prevent possibly life-threatening blood clots. They can also help in sports performance or can be worn simply for comfort. Riverbend Pharmacy can fit compressions stockings perfectly for you so that you can participate actively in whatever sport or activity you choose safely and comfortably.
- Allergies: Did you know that approximately 20-30% of Canadians suffer from seasonal allergies? Pharmacists can advise you on different medications available to you. Come in and chat with a pharmacist about your symptoms and they can help you to choose the safest and best option for you.
- Quit Smoking: Your pharmacist can help you to develop a personalized action plan to quit smoking and can suggest and prescribe nicotine replacement therapies if needed. Performing aerobic activity as a smoker can be tough and leave you feeling drained and your lungs strained. The sooner you quit, the sooner you can begin rebuilding your lung strength. You will also see greater results from your cardio workouts once you quit smoking, too. Come into Riverbend Pharmacy and speak to one of our pharmacists about your goals, today.
- Asthma management and respiratory health: Pharmacists play an important role in helping patients manage and control their asthma. They can:
- Help you identify common triggers
- Provide strategies to help manage and control your asthma
- Teach you how to properly use an inhaler or how to give a child an inhaler
- Recommend an individual treatment plan based on your individual case and needs.
Pharmacists often see their patients more often than doctors do, and as a result, are in a unique position to be able to help screen and identify at-risk patients. The key is to communicate with your pharmacist how you are feeling and your symptoms whenever you go into the pharmacy.
5. Pregnancy and Healthy, Active Living: You want to be active while pregnant and you understand the importance of maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle, especially for the health of your baby, but you are always nauseous or experiencing heartburn and it feels like you’ll never be able to exercise again.
Speak with a pharmacist. They can help you manage your nausea and suggest the appropriate vitamins/minerals and medications to help with nausea and heartburn and to keep you and the baby healthy throughout your pregnancy. They can also double-check that any medications prescribed by your doctor are safe for your baby.
You can get these symptoms under control and live the active lifestyle that you want with the help of your pharmacist.
No matter what your life currently looks like or what obstacles lie in your way, it is possible to become more active and improve your health. Spring is the season of new beginnings, so why not start your new story of healthy, active living right now. Speak to a pharmacist to safely get started, get fit and get active.
Until next time,