Importance of Exercise
By Allison Hoit
Exercise is a vital component to leading a healthy lifestyle. Adults are encouraged through the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week in addition to muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days per week. A key word here is minimum; if you are working towards a fitness goal or weight loss exercise should occur based on your goals in addition to a balanced dietary intake. If you are new to exercise, start small and increase up to the minimum PAG keeping in mind that the most important thing is to avoid inactivity. Go here to download an infographic on physical activity and people with disabilities.
Why is exercise so important?
For starters, exercise contributes to a healthier body composition and image. Aside from physical appearance, exercise provides a wealth of benefits to your health and independence. Examples include: reduced stress, increased efficiency of the heart, reduced harmful LDL cholesterol and increased good HDL cholesterol, reduced body fat, and opportunities for social interaction, to name a few. More specifically for wheelchair users, exercise improves independence by increasing muscle strength to aid in performing activities of daily living (i.e.: wheelchair transfers, driving a car, dressing, etc.). Exercise also contributes to improved cardiovascular levels resulting in better blood flow to lower extremities and decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. For a minimum of 30 minutes five days per week, you can reap these benefits and many more; so what are you waiting for?