Physical activity can come in many forms, if you remember being a kid, it was all about being outside and moving. The same rules apply as an adult, simply keep yourself moving. According to Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and Canadian Sedentary Behavior Guidelines adults require a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. That works out to less than 22 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise. If 22 minutes at a time is too much for you right now, break it up into two sessions of 11 minutes. Exercise, as defined by healthyalberta.com, is "a form of physical activity that is planned, structured and done to improve at least one aspect of physical fitness that is, strength, flexibility or aerobic endurance." Physical activity "includes activity that is part of your daily life."
So how do you incorporate fitness into your everyday life? The old adage to take the stairs instead of the escalator is a great starting point. If you have no stairs in your life, why not carry a basket or two for your groceries, instead of pushing a cart. Take your dog for two walks a day, instead of one. When you take your kids to the park, run and play on the playground with them. Instead of having a movie night with the family, head to the pool, or go play laser tag. Sign up for a local family fun run, and train for it together. Every time you choose something active you are taking another step towards healthier living.
One thing I hear regularly from my clients, is that they had been participating in some physical activity and at the end of the day went to bed, twist or reach, and their back or other body part just went out. They had no idea what happened. Is is caused by a lack of conditioning to the muscles. When the rest of your week is spend in sedentary behavior, and you suddenly demand that your body work to a higher level, it reacts negatively, and it lets you know in a big way. Regular physical activity is a great start to preventing these types of injuries. Regular exercise is even more effective. If you're unsure how to start, check out this brochure from Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.
Moderate exercise can be as simple as a brisk walk, in which you can talk relatively comfortably. Vigorous exercise would be more along the lines of a jog, wherein you are able to say only a few words at a time. Ideally you want to merge the two, into your activities for a well rounded and manageable workout.
It's important to be realistic and make your goals achievable. Exercise, like dieting, won't last if it's something that doesn't fit your lifestyle. Creating practical goals in your physical activities is key in creating a healthier you. And remember, not all exercise needs to be regulated, sometimes just getting out for a hike, climbing a tree, or playing catch can get your heart and muscles on the road to the healthiest you.