By Eric S. Lane, MBChB, CCFP, FCFP.
Spring is finally here, what a relief after a long harsh winter. This is an opportune moment to celebrate Manitoba’s physical activity month. When your mother asked you to go out and play, it maybe seemed like nagging, but it is and was good advice. Modern conveniences such as handhelds, TV’s and the associated games, cars, ATV’s, snowmobiles, etc., have led us to lead a more sedentary lifestyle than we were created for. With this has unfortunately come many health related problems.
The Mayo Clinic refers to the seven benefits of regular physical activity in it’s “Healthy lifestyle” column. They include:
- Exercise controls weight
- Exercise combats health conditions and diseases – in other words is preventative for high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, depression and falls to name but a few.
- Exercise improves mood both by acting as a stress reliever and stimulating the production of brain chemicals that help one feel happier.
- Exercise boosts energy – one’s muscles have improved strength and exercise makes the body more efficient at delivering oxygen to the tissues. This means at the end of a day’s work you will still have the stamina to do chores and enjoy your family.
- Exercise promotes better sleep, both by helping you fall asleep faster and enjoying a deeper sleep.
- Exercise puts the spark back into your se… life! Say no more.
- Exercise can [ and should] be fun. Get outside, be one with nature, enjoy time with friends and family.
Everyone can find something they enjoy doing. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that you accumulate at least 150 mins of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week. For those interested in learning more, an eye opening clip on you tube, search Doc Mike Evans 23 1/2 hours.
I have to commend our City and neighbouring community leaders for efforts they have made to encourage its citizens to walk, bike, skate, golf, participate in tennis, soccer, baseball, play hockey to name a few. Given the realities of our winters, we should be looking further at indoor facilities that can be accessed by more in our community. Wouldn’t a centre with for example a pool, track, indoor soccer pitch, squash courts be something to be proud of?
The Greek physician Hippocrates 460BC- 377 BC is attributed with having said, “Walking is man’s best medicine.”
Get a spring back in your step and happy trails!
Dr Eric S. Lane, MBChB, CCFP, FCFP.
Preceptor Clinical Teaching Unit , Boundary Trails Health Centre
Family Physician , C.W.Wiebe Medical Centre.