Stay Active

Being active is about filling your life with friends, family, and fun. It's about enjoying stimulating social and physical activities in ways that fit your lifestyle.

It's about taking small steps that lead to big results. The following ideas can help make each of those small steps both enjoyable and rewarding.

1. Let fun lead the way

Make every minute of physical activity something you enjoy: ride your bike, walk, run, skateboard, swim, rollerblade, skip or dance. Try something you enjoyed when you were younger or something you've always wanted to explore that looks interesting - like yoga, Tai Chi or kite flying. The possibilities are endless. If you enjoy it, you're more likely to continue. For more ways to get active, visit ParticiPaction's Easy and Fun Tips page, or check out 150 Ways to Get Active.

2. Count everything in

Exercise counts, in whatever form it takes. Every minute adds up to make you feel more energetic and alive. If you love to walk your dog, play Frisbee with your neighbors and work in your large garden, you're probably getting cardiovascular workouts and resistance training. You can even just stand up and pace while on the phone, or visit a colleague down the hall instead of sending an e-mail. Count everything (even just a few minutes) and count yourself in for health. A little is good and more is better, but because our bodies are made to move, every minute makes them feel more energized. For more information on physical activity recommendations, visit the Healthy Living site.

3. Involve friends and family

Whether it is tossing a ball around in the backyard, going for a family bike ride, or packing up the pets and inviting your friends to go on a picnic, being active every day improves quality of life and fosters proper growth and development — including healthy minds, bodies and relationships. For more information on how to get active with family and friends, visit Healthy Families BC.

4. Friendly competition can make everyone a winner

Competition is about more than reveling in a victory; it can be about the incentive to begin and the encouragement to continue any activity — from basketball to board games. Challenge yourself, co-workers, friends, or others.

5. Walk your way to health

Walking is free and boasts a serious health kick. Short on time? Get off the bus and park your car a few blocks from your office, find a parking spot that's a 10 minute walk to the store, or walk the dog — it's amazing how much activity this can add to your day and how much it can improve your life. To find more information developing and implementing walking programs, visit Walk BC. Additional walking programs, and new program resource guides in both Chinese and Punjabi, can be found at Active Communities BC

6. Load the kids onto a walking school bus

The Way to Go! program is an active and safe route-to-school program for communities in British Columbia. This school traffic reduction program provides parents, teachers and students with a variety of specific tools for traffic safety education, best routes planning, and promoting active transportation choices. Check out the Way to Go! site for more information.

7. Help yourself by helping others: volunteer!

Helping others can give you a great sense of purpose and when you help others in need, it helps you feel good too. There are endless possibilities for programs and places to get involved - like local nursing homes, homeless shelters or hospitals. Or volunteering might just be about helping a friend or relative. Stay active and help yourself by helping others. Want some ideas? Check out Volunteer BC or VolWeb.

8. Cost: free  Benefits: priceless

You don't have to join a gym or buy any kind of membership; to get socially or physically active. You can use whatever you already have available. Many household items can be effective exercise aids. You can use soup cans or jugs of water for resistance instead of dumbbells, the edge of a sturdy chair for tricep dips and your stairs for cardio step-ups. Go for a walk or jog, jump rope or try some lunges around your backyard. For both physical and social activities, look for convenient resources available in your community such as park and recreation programs and worksite programs. If you keep your eyes open, you'll find lots of free ways to get big payoffs.

9. Light up your life

Non-strenuous exercise reduces stress, blood pressure, and anxiety just as much as strenuous exercise does, and the risks of developing certain diseases such as coronary heart disease and cancer are only slightly lower for heavy exercisers than for moderate exercisers. When it comes to most forms of physical activity, light activities can be just as good as heavy ones. It's just about moving.

10. Activity keeps you young

Activity is the secret to rejuvenation at any age. When you rebuild muscle, you regain youthfulness, stamina, energy and vigor. Exercise also helps with osteoporosis, balance and coordination, energy levels, quality of life, length of life, mood and much more. Also, staying socially active keeps you energized and alert. Realize that you're never too old to be active and getting started is easier than you think; for example, do whatever activities you're doing now, only more often. The more you do, the better you'll feel.

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