Get up. Move. Pace. Walk around the block. Swim some laps at the Y. Hit the greens over the weekend, go dancing on Friday night, or jump into Saturday or Sunday games of touch football or pickup basketball. Exercise needn’t be strenuous to benefit your health and well-being in many ways, research continues to confirm. With a new year under way and lots going on for so many of us, activity also can play a significant role in diminishing the harms of stress.
The New York Times has put out pertinent stories on how:
- Exercise, even a gentle walk around the block — yes, with a two- or four-footed eager companion — can improve people’s moods, making them happier.
- Running, contrary to conventional wisdom, need not wreck and actually may be good for the knees.
- Patients with movement disorders like Parkinson’s can benefit from lots of exercise, especially if it is done under expert medical supervision.
Although experts, based on extensive research, offer recommendations that most of us engage in regular amounts of exercise (150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of a vigorous variety), the capers of “weekend warriors” — those of us who can only get to our favorite cardio-raising fun and games outside of the grinding work week — carry benefits, too. You may boost your health as much with two long, hard runs during the week , or ache-inducing lonAn g stints of weekend tennis or soccer, as if you spread your activity out.
I’ve written about the health harms that can occur if people sit around for long stretches. I’ve also suggested sensible approaches to incorporating more exercise and better eating into your new year’s health resolutions. You haven’t stopped going already to that new gym you bought a membership for, right?
We all can’t be athletic stars forever, performing at the pinnacle of achievement like tennis stars Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer, and the Williams sisters at the Australian Open. Most of us won’t be ageless wonders leading teams in the Super Bowl like quarterback Tom Brady (how does he do it?) or running marathons so fast at age 85 that experts marvel.
Oh, well. Here’s hoping they inspire even a little activity on all our parts.