to accompany and give back hope

Parish Nursing Bulletin



Self-Defense #2: Healthy Activity

To maintain physical and mental health in the optimum range, you need to incorporate exercise along with healthy nutrition into your lifestyle. If by now you are thinking:

· I'm too old,
· I'm too tired,
· I don't have time,
· I get enough exercise walking around the house/office, or
· Exercise is so boring, I hate it!
…stay with me. We'll try to find something that works for you.

Two types of exercise are important to improving health and quality of life: aerobic and weight-bearing. Aerobic exercise (brisk walking/jogging/running, swimming, etc.) strengthens the heart and lungs and improves their ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the entire body. This decreases fatigue, increases stamina and improves physical and mental well-being. Weight-bearing exercise replaces fat with muscle, burns extra calories, and builds strong bones. This improves mobility, and fights obesity and osteoporosis. Thirty minutes each of aerobic and weight-bearing exercise at least 3 times/week is needed to reap maximum benefits. Out of each week's total of 168 hours, are you willing to invest 3 hours to improve your physical and mental health and quality of life?

How To Get Started
· First, regardless of age, check with your doctor re a suitable exercise program for you.
· Set 1 - 2 measurable, achievable goals (e.g. starting most days feeling energetic; able to walk to and from the store without tiring within 3 months).
· Start slowly and gradually increase distance, speed, weight and repetitions as you can tolerate it.
· Push to the point of fatigue but not exhaustion. Gradually increasing demands will force your body to adapt to new levels. Sudden, heavy demands can overwhelm your body's resources and be dangerous.

How To Keep Going
· Measure your progress toward goals. As you achieve goals, set new ones.
· Incorporate more activity into daily life (take the stairs, walk to the store, work in the garden, etc.).
· Exercise with a friend if possible.
· Choose social/recreational activities that involve exercise and fun (e.g. play tennis, take up line-dancing or hiking).

Like good nutrition, healthy activity is a lifestyle commitment, not a short-term intervention. Find something that motivates you and enjoy the benefits!


© 2009 Parish Nursing Ministry