Why is it important to be physically active, especially during the winter months?
Being active improves our mood, helps us manage stress, and also manages our heart health. While this is important all year, the winter months present a unique challenge; when someone is not physically active at least once or twice a week, and then they perform a vigorous physical activity, such as snow shovelling, it can increase the risk of having a heart attack because their hearts are not used to working that hard.
So how much physical activity should we be doing then to maintain our heart health?
Aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week. This can be done in many smaller sessions or one or two longer sessions; both provide similar health benefits. For example taking two, 15 minute exercise breaks, 5 days a week or maybe a 75 minute workout two times a week.
Okay, and what about strength training?
Right, so for strength-training, aim for 2 days a week. This could be a yoga class, lifting weights, or using your own body weight to do exercises, like push-ups, situps or squats.
Great. Do you have any specific advice for older adults?
Yes, for older adults it is important to add balancing exercises as they help to prevent falls, especially for those who have mobility issues.
Where can we find more information?
You can go to the Health Unit’s website at healthunit.org and click on the physical activity tab to find low and no-cost activities in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, or call the Health Action Line: 1-800-660-5853.