Movement is vital for a healthy and full life

Published on Wed, Oct 2, 2013 by Ian Ferguson

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Exercise keeps you young no matter how old you are.

Just 20 minutes a day of moderate physical exercise such as walking or working in the yard can pay off with increased energy and reduced stress. With plenty of yard work to be done, the fall is a great time to get started on an exercise program.

Your exercise program need not involve expensive equipment or a gym membership. All it takes is a commitment to lead a more active lifestyle. Here are a few easy suggestions for incorporating physical exercise into your daily routine:

Take periodic stretch breaks throughout your day. Studies have shown stretching not only increases flexibility, it can also
 help prevent injuries. However, be sure to keep it light and don’t overstretch.

  • Walk, walk, walk. Walk to the library, walk your dog (or a neighbor’s dog – with permission, please). Use stairs instead of elevators. Park farther away in the parking lot. Walking is one of the best things you can do to maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Wash your own car (it will save money, too). Do housework or work in the yard. Household chores keep you moving and burn a surprising amount of calories.
  • Take your grandchildren on a nature hike. There are several great hiking opportunities right in Blaine and Birch Bay. Point Whitehorn Marine Park in Birch Bay has wide, flat paths through tall trees. Marine Park in Blaine has grassy fields and shoreline access. Lincoln Park, Birch Bay State Park and Birch Bay beach – all are great opportunities for exploring nature and staying fit at the same time.
  • Join a Zumba class at the Birch Bay Activity Center. These group classes combine dance and fitness in a way that everybody finds enjoyable. Zumba fitness classes are held Mondays and Fridays at 9:30 a.m. with a $3 drop-in fee. The Birch Bay Activity Center is located at 7511 Gemini Street.
  • Pick up pickle ball. This accessible sport is rising in popularity. A cross between ping pong and tennis, anyone can play and it’s easy to learn. The Birch Bay Activity Center has a pickle ball open gym Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
  • Meet a friend and walk to lunch.

Along with increased energy and less stress, exercise also provides these important benefits:
  • Stronger bones
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Improved heart and lungs
  • Enhanced mood
  • A chance to be with friends and family

While it’s important not to over-exert yourself, a little extra movement worked into your daily routine is never a bad thing. Get up and move around – your body and mind will thank you.