Why Exercise?

You might think of exercise as a way to lose weight, and you are right! However, exercise is more crucial to your overall health, than just a means to drop a few pounds.  

Participating in regular physical activity on a daily basis is necessary to keep you healthy and to prevent many chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even some cancers. Regular physical activity also lowers blood pressure, reduces arthritis symptoms, improves balance, and improves joint mobility. On top of all these great physical benefits, it just makes you generally feel better, you will have more energy, sleep better and be more confident. Why wouldn’t you want to exercise?  

Need another reason to be more active? How about this, if you are a person with a disability or a physical impairment, and do not exercise, you are 50% more likely to suffer from chronic disease than those who get the recommended 30 minutes a day of physical activity.  Stop and think about that for a moment.   

As a person with physical limitations becomes stronger and more flexible with consistent exercise, they will start to experience greater independence with everyday tasks, like extending your reach or doing transfers without help from someone. 

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends ALL adults get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity AND 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity EVERY WEEK. According to the guidelines, 
“when adults with chronic conditions or disabilities are not able to meet the above key guidelines they should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity”.  They should also consult their healthcare provider, or physical activity specialist about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for their abilities and chronic conditions.  In some cases, it may be better to start off with less than 150 minutes a week, increasing the duration as you grow stronger.   

Perhaps you are wondering, how can I possibly be physically active when I; have a disability, suffer from severe obesity, have a breathing condition, am stiff with arthritis, or am elderly and afraid of falling. The truth is you CAN be active, you just need to find what works for you. Talk with your doctor, physical therapist or other healthcare provider for suggestions on what may work best for you. Any activity is better than inactivity and you will still reap all the physical and mental benefits from exercise.   

The remaining sections of this guide are designed to provide you with various options to keep yourself active. From local recreation programs to scenic outdoor paths to exercise done in the comfort of your own home, there is something for everyone to get you started.   

Adults need a mix of physical activity to stay healthy. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity - Anything that get your heart beating faster counts. A circle with the words "at least 150 minutes a week" inside. Below the circle are five smaller circles with the following icons inside one of each circle, a bike rider, a swimmer, a dog walker, a person in a wheelchair playing basketball, a gardener.   AND Muscle-strengthening activity. Do activities that make your muscles work harder than usual. A square with the words "at least 2 days a week" inside. Two smaller circles below the square with a person lifting hand weights and a person doing pushups. Below reads, If that's more than you can do right now, do what you can (in bold).  Even 5 minutes of physical activity has real health benefits. Walk. Run. Dance. Play. What's your move?