“Once you take responsibility and stop waiting for others to make you happy you will become unstoppable - there will be no denying you - your life will change all because of you.  So, take the green light and go for it!”

Benefits of Getting Regular Physical Activity

Exercise is good for you. Working your body for  at least 30 minutes most days of the week (working  hard enough to break a sweat) can help prevent and manage diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, depression and more.  It also helps to control and manage weight and stress and helps you look and feel better.  Exercise is the only proven method to add years to your life and life to your years – so get moving today, you’ll be glad you did!

More specific benefits of exercise include:

1. Stronger heart and lungs
Heart and lung disease are two major killers of Native Americans. The cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) involves the circulation of your blood through your body. Each time your heart beats blood passes throughout your body bringing oxygen and to nourish your cells.

Blood pressure is the force exerted on your artery walls as blood passes through them.  It tells you if your blood is flowing smoothly. If you have plaques in your arteries, your blood flow is interrupted and can cause life-threatening damage to your cardiovascular system. Getting some exercise most days of the week:
    1.    Lowers the buildup of plaques in arteries.
    2.    Increases "good" cholesterol and decreases "bad" cholesterol.
    3.    Lowers blood pressure if it’s high and prevents it if it’s not.

Oxygen is required for good health and body function.  Your respiratory system involves breathing in and out to distribute oxygen to body tissues and to remove waste (carbon dioxide) from the body. Getting some exercise most days of the week helps you breathe better, makes your lungs stronger and delivers nourishing oxygen throughout your body, making you feel refreshed and energized. 

2. Prevent and Manage symptoms of Type II Diabetes
Type II Diabetes affects Native Americans at higher rates than any other ethnic group. Getting some exercise most days, choosing healthier foods and losing weight are effective ways to manage and prevent diabetes.  Moving your body not only helps your body’s insulin work better it also removes excess sugar in the blood and helps your body become more effective at processing food. 

3. Reduce Stress and Feel Better
Getting some exercise most days keeps your brain strong by increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.  It also stimulates the production of endorphins (the brain’s “feel good” chemicals) and provides for "natural" pain relief and relaxation.  If you have a hard day a quick 10-minute walk will help you calm down and feel better – and walking for 30 minutes to an hour will also help you lose weight.  It might be hard to get yourself moving, but once you do you will be glad you did!

4. Reduces Cancer Risk
Exercising for at least 10 minutes a day working hard enough to break a sweat helps lower the risk of cancers of the colon, uterus and breast by reducing body fat, and by helping to move food through your body more efficiently.

5. Stronger Bones & Muscles
One of the best things you can do to prevent bone-weakening and loss as you age is to exercise.  Building strength (weight lifting, resistance tubes, body weight) and “weight bearing” exercises (exercises that support your body weight such as walking and jogging) are best to keep your bones strong. Having stronger bones also helps your balance and coordination and reduces your risk of falls.*

*  65% of injuries resulting in disability in people over age 62 result from falls.   Your risk of falling can be reduced with exercise – so get moving today!

6. Lose Weight
Being overweight results in lower self esteem and can cause many health problems.  Exercise helps you burn more calories and increase your metabolism resulting in weight loss. The harder you work the more calories you burn. 

If you burn more calories than you take in (by eating and/or drinking) you not only lose weight, you replace fat with muscle.

Getting to and staying at a healthy weight not only protects you from disease, it also helps you to look and feel better, improves self-esteem and reduces pressure on your joints helping them to last longer and have less pain.

It takes 3,500 calories to burn 1-pound of fat so if you want to lose weight you will need to make small changes in your diet.  Eat more foods made by the Creator (fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts and lean meat and avoid processed foods, soda and alcohol.  Drinking more water will also help.

7. Helps you SLEEP better
There is nothing like a good night’s sleep to improve how you feel and your outlook on life.  Getting some exercise at least three hours before bedtime will help you sleep better and wake up feeling rested.

Exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week for better health and a better life!