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Move More in 2024


Jesse and Andrew have fun at the playground

Every January, many of us make plans to improve our health. Unfortunately, fads and misleading online information can make it difficult to figure out what sorts of changes would be most likely to help us achieve our health goals.

 

One of my primary roles is helping people become more active – particularly if they’re struggling with a challenge like pain, fatigue, or reduced mobility. Something I see over and over is that people know exercise is important, and want to be more active, but aren’t sure where to start.

 

Fortunately, just like Canada has a food guide, we also have “24-Hour Movement Guidelines” that tell us what sorts of movement and exercise have the biggest impact on our health and wellbeing. These guidelines tell us that for adults of all ages (even 99-year-olds), the types of exercise that have the greatest health benefits are:

 

-doing strengthening exercise (typically, lifting something heavy until your muscles feel tired) for the major muscle groups at least 2 days per week

-doing moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise (typically, a repetitive movement that increases your heart rate and gets you breathing hard - e.g. swimming, skating, biking, brisk walking, dancing, etc.) for 150 minutes per week

-doing exercise that challenges your balance several days per week (for people over the age of 65)

 

It you’re thinking you'd like to move more in 2024, these types of exercise might be a good place to start. If you’re looking for a little motivation, you might be surprised to learn that meeting these movement guidelines has been shown to:

 

-reduce the risk of getting breast and colon cancer by 20%

-significantly improve depression and anxiety

-reduce the risk of developing dementia, (and improve cognition in people with Alzheimer’s)

-reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes by 25-40%

-improve bone density (even in people with osteoporosis)

-reduce falls

-reduce premature death by 30-65%

 

It’s often said that if it were possible to package the benefits of exercise inside a pill, it would be marketed as a miracle cure. Moving more can have huge health benefits. If you’re hoping to improve your health in 2024, consider thinking about how you can integrate more exercise into your life. Every little bit helps.

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