Physical Activity

What's good for your heart is good for your brain!

Staying physically active is one of the best things you can do for your brain and your body. Research shows that physical activity is a strong promoter of NEUROPLASTICITY - your brain's ability to grow and form new connections. We now know that brains continue to grow, develop, and make connections no matter what age we are. Exercise boosts your brain's resilience: the ability to cope with stress and challenges and bounce back from tough times.

Regular physical activity promotes:

  • Lower risk of chronic disease, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and cancer
  • Improved function and independence
  • Better quality of sleep
  • Improved overall mood
  • Increased longevity
  • Lower risk of dementia, disability and falls as we age

IDEAS TO GET STARTED!

Staying physically active is a key part of optimal aging. Ideally all adults would be physically active (getting our heart rate up or ever breaking a sweat) at least 30 minutes 5 times a week. But the good news is you just have to move, and any kind of activity will benefit your health! Here are some ideas to help you increase your physical activity level.

Just move: Many health problems are associated with sitting for long periods of time. By getting up and moving, you can improve your heart, bone and brain health and increase longevity.

  • Walk: Regular walking can improve and protect your mood, reduce anxiety, increase longevity, and decrease the risk of dementia as you age.
  • Do more of what you normally do: Daily activities such as errands, getting groceries, household chores, gardening and walking the dog can all add to your level of physical activity, and keep you independent and strong for the long term.
  • Join your local fitness of community centre: Conditioning programs are great for improving your cardiovascular fitness, but they also improve self-image, energy, and maintain cognitive health. A personal fitness assessment is really helpful at any age to work on what's best for your health.
  • Try something new: There are many activities out there that may be just right for you. Yoga, tai chi and qi gong are some examples of mind-body exercises that can improve your quality of sleep and energy levels and may be available at a local community centre or online.
  • Practice balancing: Activities that improve your co-ordination and balance can decrease your risk of falls. The better your balance, the more likely you are to stay independent over the long term.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner: Learn what activities are best for you by having a chat with your primary care provider. Also check out a useful online resource: http://exerciseismedicinecanada.ca

Set a goal!

Set a SMART physical activity goal from the Ideas to Get Started list, or choose one of your own. Remember the more specific, measurable and realistic your goal, the more likely you are to succeed!

Invitation: We invite you to try out our Wellness App to track your goal over the next 4 weeks. No goal is too small and the Wellness App will encourage you along the way! 

Share your goal: