Just keep moving
From the moment we’re born, we’re encouraged to move. First crawl, then walk, then run and once we’ve got a basic understanding of movement, we’re encouraged to keep it up in any way we can!
But why? What is it about movement and physical activity that sustains us and keeps our wellbeing in check?
Before we jump to the answer, let’s clarify a couple of things.
What is physical activity and how much do I really need?
According to the Australian Department for Health, physical activity is anything that gets your body moving, makes you breathe faster and speeds up your heart rate.
The activity could be incidental, like mowing the lawn, it could be structured, like going to the gym or team training, it can even be social in nature, like walking with a friend or playing social sport.
Whatever the activity is, 30 minutes a day is what’s required to maintain your physical wellbeing.
So what’s all the fuss (sweat) about?
Firstly, physical activity is a great way to regulate your body weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight lowers the risk of developing diseases including type two diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
Considering physical inactivity is responsible for more than 6% of the cancer burden in Australia (second only to tobacco smoking), it’s really beneficial to keep moving.
Working on your physical wellbeing isn’t just about a healthy heart, it’s about a healthy mind too.
Research within the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal indicates that exercise is protective of mental health, especially in relation to depression. The Australian Department of Health suggests that just by playing recreational sport 1-3 times a week reduces distress by 34 per cent.
Exercise can also alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and also improves mood and self-esteem.
Exercise is one of the three pillars of health and has a significant impact on sleep, specifically moderate to vigorous exercise.
World-renowned Sleep and Respiratory Physiologist, Professor Danny Eckert explained in his Hoap Expert series that ‘’Exercise throughout the day is fantastically helpful in terms of promoting deep sleep.’’
Sleep Foundation research also indicates exercise can increase sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and decreases the chance of waking up during the night.
Pain prevention and overuse injuries
Physical wellbeing is about more than heart raising activity, posture and gentle movement also have a significant impact.
Taking breaks from sedentary tasks and being aware of posture go a long way to avoiding overuse injuries and muscle fatigue.
It’s not always easy, it’s not always convenient, but factoring in movement and physical activity is a sure-fire way to sustain your overall wellbeing.
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