There’s no better time to get outdoors and get moving.
If you’re like one of the many dog owners in Spruce Grove, myself included, you already are out enjoying a walk with your fury four-legged friend at least once, if not several times a day. Others, like avid bird watchers, hikers or families with young children also spend several hours enjoying outdoor activities every week.
It was on a recent walk that got me thinking just how good and beneficial it was for my husband and I to have a dog – she is the reason we get out and walk every day. While I was an active kid growing up and loved to ride my bike and swim in our backyard pool, I never played sports and never had a regular exercise regime.
That somewhat sedentary lifestyle continued throughout my college days and beyond, and as I grew older I became too busy with work and other activities to really focus on exercise as a means to a healthy lifestyle. While there were times when I did join a gym and attempt to improve my health and get into shape, they were short-lived. It was not until after I had a stroke at the age of 45 that my health took a front seat. Shortly after my return home from hospital, we adopted an adorable older dog who’s owner could no longer keep her. Today she is our walking companion.
While out walking her earlier this week, I realized just how good walking made me feel – not just from a physical point of view, but a mental one as well. I felt re-energized and refreshed. Regular exercise of any type can benefit people in several ways, although many people enjoy a walk in the early mornings, after suppertime in the evenings or perhaps in the middle of the day, as a much needed break from work and the stress and pressures of work life.
Just recently, Spruce Grove councillor Wayne Rothe completed a fitness challenge by walking every street in Spruce Grove – kudos to him for that achievement and having the motivation to do so in some very cold, inclement weather this winter.
The benefits of regular exercise, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, are clear. It’s medically proven that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of over 25 chronic conditions including stroke, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. For older adults, aged 65 and up, regular physical activity can also help with balance, strength, flexibility and coordination.
The next time you’re tempted to put off a walk or a hike, time at the gym, the outdoor rink or indoor pool, let’s remember to think of all the ways that exercise helps our physical health, mental health and well-being and let’s get moving!