Physical Activity Primer

Putting on tennis shoes

Feeling tired, slow, and sluggish? People often don’t feel their best when they are not getting enough physical activity. But how much is enough? Experts say, for most of us, at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week promotes health and well-being. For the best results, aim for a combination of aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and flexibility activities each week.

Ideally, we need 150 minutes of aerobic activities weekly. Aerobic activities increase your breathing and heart rate and improve heart and lung fitness. Jogging, brisk walking, biking, and swimming are examples.

Muscle-strengthening activities build and maintain both muscles and bones. Lifting weights, using a resistance band, or doing weight-bearing activities such as push-ups, squats, or yoga are all examples. Aim to do these twice weekly, in addition to your aerobic activity.

Flexibility activities help joints to move through their full range of motion. You should enjoy stretching exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi two to three times weekly.

Source: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/physical-activity/.

Foam Roll Your Way to Better Fitness

What Does It Do?

Foam rolling uses a process called “myofascial release” to stretch out tight muscles and release tension that causes an area to feel sore. The goal is to break up the tissue that connects the muscles called fascia. This long, cylindrical fitness tool is used by directly applying pressure to the target muscle area.

The Benefits

  • Increased Range of Motion: During exercise, muscles constrict and create tension, decreasing mobility. Using a roller promotes more flexible muscles, allowing them to fully reach their potential range of motion.
  • Strength and Balance: Foam rollers are not only used for stretching, but as a component of an exercise program. Yoga and Pilates utilize this tool to strengthen the core by creating instability.
  • Feeling of Relief: After exercise, muscles can feel sore and tight. Rolling out the knots relieves some of the pain created by this built-up tension.
  • Increased Circulation: Foam rolling allows more oxygen to circulate to the target muscles, assisting with recovery and performance.
  • Easy and Affordable: Foam rollers can be purchased for as cheap as $10 and are lightweight and easy to transport.

Explore exercise ideas and check out types of foam rollers to purchase for your active lifestyle.

Sources:

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