An active lifestyle is one that involves a healthy routine and physical activity such as walking, running, standing, etc. A physically active person is much better than one having a sedentary lifestyle. There are a lot of disadvantages of sedentary living. According to Mayo Clinic, 50%-70% of people spend 6 hours of their day while sitting and 20%-35% of people spend 4 hours watching TV and doing nothing per day.
U.S Department of Health and Human Services reported that about 80% of adult human beings do not perform any activities related to muscle strengthening and aerobic exercises up to the mark.
How Can We Have An Active Lifestyle?
Everything starts with an initial step. If you want to enjoy a healthy life you should at least have the passion for it. You should know the importance of an active lifestyle. Only after it, you will be able to maintain it. Here are some tips to have an active lifestyle:
The beginning of a long journey starts with small steps. Having an intention to do something is extremely important if you really want to achieve it. If you want to have an active lifestyle, you have to set some goals in the first place. The goals can be short-term in the beginning but they can be converted for long-term purposes gradually over time. For example, if you want to lose weight by walking daily, start the activity with 10 minutes of a walk for the first day and then increase it day by day.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 30 minutes of any exercise can be broken into three sessions of 10 minutes and is an effective method to do exercise without getting tired.
Be Active All the Time
One should be active and energetic throughout the day. Try to find physical work in most activities such as keep standing during work hours, opt for activities that involve weight-bearing, etc. An active person walks more than 3 miles daily at the same pace.
Keep a Check on Your Progress
Keep checking your progress of being physically active. Make a schedule of your daily physical activity or exercise. You can note it down on a diary or on a notepad on your phone. Smartphones now contain several various applications for health concerns and fitness freaks. For example, a pedometer is a device that can be used manually and is also found in mobile applications and smartwatches now. Its function is to count or track the footsteps of yours daily. Start with fewer steps but gradually increase the steps day by day.
Benefits of an Active Lifestyle
If we talk about an active lifestyle, there are lots of benefits of it undoubtedly. An active lifestyle is the key to healthy living and stimulates you to put more and more effort into being physically active all the time. Let us talk about some of the benefits of an active lifestyle:
1) Improves Health
An active lifestyle helps you to be healthy because it involves different kinds of exercises such as pushups, running, jumping, etc., and physical activities like walking, standing, etc. The person who is physically active is at lower risk of getting attacked by conditions like heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, a higher level of cholesterol, deformity of joints, and weakness of muscles.
2) Physical Adaptation
When a person is physically active most of the time, his body gets adapted to it. The adaptation can be of two types:
i. Acute Adaptation:
It involves the adaptation in any system of the body that is associated with transient changes. The physical adaptations in the body that are due to some daily physical activity and remain till you quit that activity, such adaptations are called acute adaptations. For example, increased heart rate, increased respiration rate, the release of hormones, increased neuromuscular activation.
ii. Chronic Adaptation:
Chronic adaptation involves physical changes in the body that are not temporary rather they are the long-term changes that are often irreversible i.e. they cannot be undone. For example, an increase in muscle mass and a reduction in fat mass as long-term adaptations to resistance exercise.
These adaptations help you perform your daily life activities with more ease as the heart, lungs, and muscles get used to the daily physical activities.
3) Weight Maintenance
Having an active lifestyle by consuming a healthy diet and performing exercises will not let your fat be stored in the organs and adipose tissue. It will be a breakdown as you start doing the physical activities and your calories are burnt. This process helps your maintaining your weight and normal BMI (body mass index).
4) Muscle Strength
An active lifestyle also improves muscular health. It helps you enhance your muscular strength, endurance, power, and agility by different exercises such as walking, hiking, jogging, skating, resistance exercises, etc. This reduces the risk of falls for older people and osteoporosis in females. Stretch your muscles every time after the workout to make them relax. It improves flexibility, range of motion and reduces the risk for injuries and muscular cramps.
5) Improves mood
The active lifestyle also includes meditation techniques and yoga along with exercises. These activities reduce stress, anxiety, depression, sleep patterns and hence improves your mood. As we know, good mental health is extremely important for a healthy body. So, one should find different ways of interest to improve his mood.
How Much Activity Does Your Body Need?
It is always better to do some activity rather than doing nothing. A low-intensity exercise is even better than watching TV all the time with no physical activity at all. If we talk about aerobic exercises, the time duration of 150 minutes to 300 minutes with moderate intensity is a healthy count per week. If you intend to do some strength training exercises such as weight lifting, cycling, dancing, squats etc. you should keep in mind the frequency, intensity and time duration of them before starting doing them. You can also get your appropriate exercise plan from a Physical Therapist.
|Age||Recommendation||Percentage meeting recommendation|
|2-4 years||at least 3 hours, spread throughout the day||9%||10%|
|5-10 years||at least one hour and up to several hours every day||25%||20%|
|11-15 years||at least one hour and up to several hours every day||17%||11%|
|19–64 years||Over a week, activity should add up to at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity||67%||55%|
|65+ years||Over a week, activity should add up to at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity||Age 65 – 74|
|Age 65 – 74|
Source: British Heart Foundation (2015) Physical Activity Statistics 2015
Nutrition and Lifestyle
A diet consisting of all essential nutrients is a healthy diet and plays an important role in an active lifestyle of a person. Healthy nutrition consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, foods containing carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, etc. These foods help to reduce the risk of several diseases, improves your well-being, immunity, and energy level. You can consult a nutritionist for a diet plan suitable for you.
Exercises at Home
Some home-friendly exercises that plays role in active lifestyle include:
- Jumping Jacks
- Cross Crunches
- Side Plank
You can also perform exercises at home by watching TV and DVDs teaching exercises.
Workout at Gym
Spare some time for yourself and get registered to a good gym. Go to the gym daily and perform exercises especially if you are facing weight and obesity issues. A good yoga or gym instructor may help you achieve your goals.
Can Your Active Lifestyle Delay Aging Process?
By doing regular exercise, your muscles and joints adapt to better conditions. Ageing is an inevitable process but it can be delayed by having an active lifestyle throughout your life. Try to eat healthily and stay physically active to stay young as long as you can. According to a study, you can delay your aging process by 11 years only by quitting smoking.
How to be Consistent in the Long Run?
- Start slow but add on day by day.
- Do activities of your interest.
- Find social support for encouraging yourself.
- Give yourself rewards upon accomplishing a goal.
- Motivate yourself again and again until you achieve your goal.
To read more about how to motivate yourself read Motivation
When to Consult the Doctor?
Consult your doctor if you find some severe symptoms like obesity, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, or any abnormal structural changes in your body such as the limited motion of joints, pain in muscles, cracking of bones, etc.
To adopt and maintain an active lifestyle is extremely important especially nowadays when everyone wants to have a sedentary lifestyle i.e. enjoying everything by doing nothing. An active lifestyle has several benefits that cannot be neglected. You can maintain it by having a properly nutritious diet and regular physical activity. You can also delay your aging process by being physically active but it would only be done if you know how to be consistent in the long run. Moreover, you can also consult your doctor if you experience some abnormal changes or symptoms in your body.