Summer is only a few months away. Now is the perfect time to begin incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine. According to an article from The British Journal of General Practice and the National Institutes of Health, it takes approximately 10 weeks to form a new habit—and we have about 9 weeks before the summer solstice. So let’s find out how we can move our bodies toward a healthier summer and ever after.
Regular exercise can not only help keep your weight under control and lower your blood pressure, but it can also improve your balance and range of motion, strengthen your bones, protect your joints, prevent bladder control problems, and even ward off memory loss.
How to stay fit and healthy in summer
The best way to stay fit and healthy this summer (and all year) is to exercise a little bit every day. There are a lot of ways to get healthy that don’t involve lifting heavy weights at the gym.
In fact, unless you’re an athlete or serious exerciser, some of the best physical activities for your body do not require the gym at all. Here are some of the best exercises you can do to stay healthy:
- Go swimming
Swimming is almost the perfect exercise. It helps you build strength, increase endurance and tone muscles throughout your entire body. It’s also a good cardiovascular exercise and helps keep your heart healthy.
- Try tai chi
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that combines continuous movement and meditation. Each movement transitions smoothly into the next and is accessible for people of all ages and fitness levels. The benefits of tai chi include decreased anxiety and depression and improvements in cognition. It may also help you manage symptoms ofsome chronic diseases, like fibromyalgia or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Practice strength training
Strength training increases muscle mass, bone density and joint flexibility. Many exercises can be done using just your body weight, like lunges, push-ups, squats and abdominal crunches. Two or three 20-30-minute training sessions each can significantly improve your health.
- Go for a walk
Walking can help you stay physically fit, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure at a healthy level, lift your mood, and lower your risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Walking can help improve your memory and resist age-related memory loss. Start by walking 10-15 minutes at a time. Then slowly work your way up to walking for 30-60 minutes daily.
- Do kegel exercises
Kegel exercises help strengthen pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. These exercises help prevent urinary incontinence in both men and women. Here is how to do a Kegel exercise correctly, first squeeze the muscles you would use to prevent yourself from passing urine or gas. Next, hold the contraction for two or three seconds and completely relax your pelvic floor muscles after each contraction. Repeat 10 times four to five times a day.
Five ways to prevent injuries while you exercise
Before beginning any new exercise program or routine, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help ensure you’re healthy enough to exercise and modify exercises as needed. Here are five more ways you can stay fit and healthy in summer, safely:
- Choose your workout carefully
Find a program within your comfort zone. Participating in high-impact exercises like running, jumping jacks or burpees aren’t ideal for women with conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. Non-impact exercises like swimming or using an elliptical machine, provide aerobic conditioning without putting additional stress on your joints.
- Learn proper techniques
Don’t start any new exercise until you understand how to do it with the correct form. A personal trainer or physical therapist can work with you to develop the proper technique so you can exercise safely.
- Get the right gear
A pair of comfortable sneakers with good arch support and a cushioned heel are essential for walking or strength training. Loose, comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing will help you move freely and stay drier while exercising.
- Start slowly
It’s important to remember that exercise is not a race or competition. It’s okay to start low and slow and gradually increase your weight, speed or intensity, as you feel ready.
- Don’t skip the warm-up
Cold muscles are more prone to injury. A proper warm-up can improve blood flow, reduce stiffness and potentially lower your risk of injury. Good ways to warm up include brisk walking and dynamic stretches (e.g., arm or leg lifts) for 5-10 minutes.
No one plans to get hurt, but sometimes you can injure yourself while doing even the easiest exercises. If you suffer a fall, sprain, strain or fracture, please visit Coastal Urgent Care of Baton Rouge to get the quality care you need. Many mild sprains and strains can heal on their own, but swelling or bruising that lasts more than a week needs medical treatment to avoid further complications.
We are open for walk-in appointments 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.