The Harvard Health Review recently offered their take on what they called the "secret to better health," and not surprisingly, their conclusion was that it was exercise. As they discuss and I completely agree, the activity levels of our generation and of our children's generation has declined. With televisions, computers, video games and now the ability to do almost anything on a cell phone, people seem entirely too occupied with starring at a screen than getting up and moving around.
We know the health benefits of exercise and how incorporating it can help you avoid chronic diseases, maintain a healthy weight and help with mental focus. What the Harvard Health Review touched on that I think is valuable advice, is what constitutes a good exercise program. They offered the components of exercise they felt were most important and the general health advantages of each. I have added to their list as well.
So, the top five components of a balanced exercise program are:
Aerobic Activity – This should be at the heart of your exercise program. Improved cardiac function is important for calorie burning and better blood flow to help avoid chronic diseases.
Strength Training – Important for strengthening bones and to build lean muscle mass. We tend to lose both as we age, so strength training through resistance exercises can be extremely helpful as we get older.
Flexibility Exercises – Muscle tightness leads to aches and pains, and can also be a factor in significant injuries. Keep your muscles and tendons elastic to be able to handle the rigors of your day.
Balance Exercises – As you age, balance can be critical. Avoiding falls mean avoiding broken bones and other complications that can keep you inactive. Even temporary inactivity can be detrimental to your overall health.
Meditation – Clearing the stress from your mind can help with mental focus and improve cognitive function. Take a few minutes out of each day to get away and relax. A healthy mind will play a major role in keeping a healthy body.