Activity is one of the healthiest stress busters as Canadian Pharmacy informs. The best activities are those you keep doing. So before you rush off to join a health club, take a little time to set goals, devise a plan and figure out ways to overcome barriers that might sabotage your good intentions.

What’s best for you?

Formal exercise is great for boosting fitness, but don’t rule out other kinds of activities to help you stay healthy and enjoy life. Take advantage of every chance to do “fun” activities’ recreational games and hobbies and “functional” everyday activities.

If you’re not sure which activities you want to do, keep in mind this basic rule: It’s best to enjoy what you’re doing. If exercise is a bore or a chore, you won’t stick with it. Ask yourself these questions to find activities that suit your temperament and lifestyle:

  • Do you enjoy working out alone or with people? If solitary jogs sound unappealing, check into group exercise options such as joining a gym, enrolling in a yoga class or finding a sports team.
  • Do you prefer competitive sports or slower-paced, unpressured situations?
  • Do you enjoy exercising indoors or outdoors?

Low-stress Activity Tips

  • Do something noncompetitive, like walking or swimming laps.
  • You don’t need strain or pain, so keep the intensity easy or moderate.
  • Be outdoors, in a pastoral setting, to reduce stress.
  • Work out in quiet surroundings.
  • Soak in a warm bath after an activity, to extend the relaxing benefits.

Walking is the best overall activity for most people. Walking doesn’t require special equipment, facilities or locations.

Goals and support

Regular, moderately vigorous physical activity will condition and strengthen your body, increase energy, help control your weight and reduce stress. (If you have any health problems, talk to your healthcare provider including Pharmacy Canada before you begin any new exercise program.)

How much activity?

National activity guidelines call for adults to accumulate at least the equivalent of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking over the course of most days of the week but it doesn’t have to be all at once. The new prescription sounds like something you can write on your own.

Support from others can get you off to a good start. Tell your family and friends about your commitment to exercise, and consider asking them to join youor at least making it convenient for you to work out. Exercising with a partner can make workouts fun and inspire you on days when you don’t feel motivated.

Get moving

Shun the elevator, and take the stairs. Push-mow your lawn. Socialize with friends during walks, not lunches. Plant a vegetable garden. Walk to the store.

Play more games. Try ping-pong, horseshoes, badminton and volleyball. Join a dance class. Park the car, and walk a few blocks. Pack a jump rope on trips.

Exercise on a stationary bike while you watch TV. Do calisthenics, run in place and climb stairs. Buy an exercise video and work out at home.
Sources: Wellsource, Inc., and The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Did You Know?
If you have serious health problems or haven’t been exercising, get exercise clearance from your doctor before starting any exercise program.