Jul 17, 2023

Why staying active matters

I have found that making moderate exercise- a jog, a swim, rowing, some interval training- a part of your daily routine makes you healthier, both mentally and physically. And maintaining my health is important to me, as it will help me enjoy my family and serve my patients for years to come.

Each week, I engage in regular activities to keep my body and mind strong. I run (about 10 miles), cycle, play tennis and swim laps four times a week and get in push-ups and sit-ups three days each week. While I tend to be more active than most, engaging in any amount of exercise is an important investment to make.

As I get older, I can look back at many of my earlier decisions and see which choices have led to successful outcomes.

While young, it might be tempting to think that the way you eat, sleep, and exercise has only short-term implications. Scientific research has demonstrated that good personal choices extend your life and help to keep you healthy. Regular exercise is one of the biggest things you can do to stay well, and it’s never too late to start!

No matter your age, when you exercise, certain benefits occur.

Your body releases endorphins, boosting your mood (and your circulation). It also decreases feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. You sleep better after you exercise. Research shows you fall asleep faster and are more resistant to sleep disturbances after exercise.

Long-term benefits are even more dramatic. Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day is the baseline for a lot of studies – and that’s extremely doable. Even busy people can take that carveout, given the benefits. In addition, your likelihood of developing degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia decreases dramatically.

High-impact exercise like running, tennis, and basketball, is excellent at building bone density, which staves off osteoporosis later in life. Staying active, including walking, as you age reduces muscle loss, keeping you strong and reducing the likelihood of soft-tissue injury and falls.

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