Man working out at home - setup

Why it’s important to be active

You may currently find it challenging to make time for or find the motivation to lead an active lifestyle. Nonetheless, incorporating physical activity into your routine is one of the most effective ways to take care of yourself. Find out why!

Each individual has their own motivations for embracing or rejecting an active lifestyle. However, participating in physical activities is now more advantageous than ever in promoting good physical and mental health.

woman working out with resistance band.

Reduce stress

Throughout our lives, various factors undoubtedly exacerbate our stress levels, and exercise may not always be at the top of our priorities. Did you know that physical activity offers unexpected benefits and helps reduce stress? Engaging in a pysical activity is an excellent way to release excess energy. Moreover, participating in sports doesn't necessarily mean enduring lengthy, gruelling workout sessions. In fact, simply playing outside with your children or taking a walk in your neighborhood can effectively lower your stress levels.

How it works:
- Physical activity stimulates the production of dopamine and endorphins (happiness and pleasure hormones), leading to a decrease in cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which provides an antidepressant effect;
- Engaging in physical activity allows you to focus on what your body is doing instead of dwelling on the stressful details of everyday life.

You could try:
- A quick 20-minute circuit workout.
- Skipping rope for 10 minutes.
- A series of simple resistance band exercises.

man doing at-home pilates on a yoga mat

Mental health

Often overlooked, mental health is a vital aspect that plays a crucial role in overall well-being. Everyone should regularly assess their mental health, as stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts can easily become overwhelming. While it may not be possible to entirely eliminate these feelings, they can be managed and moderated.

How it works:
-Engaging in regular physical activity with friends or family members helps create social connections that are undeniably beneficial for mental health;
- Performing movements slowly but mindfully during a yoga or Pilates session contributes to calming the mind and alleviating muscle tension;
- Learning a new sport can improve self-esteem and a sense of personal worth.

You could try:
- An online yoga or pilates class.
- A morning walk to clear your head.
- An online kickboxing class.

Get active this spring

Spring is an ideal season to get active and engage in exercise to reduce stress. With the arrival of longer days and warmer temperatures, it's easier to go outside and enjoy nature. To start, it's important to choose a sporting activity that appeals to you, such as walking, cycling, running, yoga, or even hiking. Group activities like volleyball or soccer are also great options to enjoy fresh air and socialize simultaneously. It's important to start slowly and warm up before diving in to avoid injuries and get the most out of physical activity.

In Canada, there are numerous and varied outdoor sports activities to choose from. Hiking enthusiasts can explore wooded trails on mountains or in natural parks, while water sports lovers can enjoy lakes and rivers for kayaking, windsurfing, or stand-up paddleboarding. Cycling is also very popular, whether on urban bike paths or country roads. Municipal parks often provide facilities for group sports such as baseball, soccer, or tennis. For those looking to relax while exercising, outdoor yoga is an excellent option to connect with nature while strengthening the body and mind. Regardless of the activity chosen, the key is to move, enjoy the great outdoors, and reduce stress for better mental and physical health.

Getting some fresh air

It’s normal to spend more time indoors during the winter months. Fresh air provides numerous health benefits, and everyone should strive to get a daily dose when possible. Finding ways to stay active outdoors is excellent for your physical and mental well-being.

How it works:
- Engaging in outdoor activities promotes breathing, brings more oxygen to the lungs, and allows the airways to expand more effectively;
- Breathing in fresh air provides a boost of energy and vitality, in addition to stimulating brain functions after spending too much time indoors in front of a screen;
- Participating in outdoor activities encourages the secretion of serotonin (the feel-good hormone), which is excellent for one's mood.

You could try:
- Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in a local park.
- Skating with your kids.
- Helping your neighbours shovel (don’t forget to stretch afterwards!).

There are plenty of ways to stay active during the cold season. The key is to find an activity you enjoy!

A little boost can be helpful during challenging times, and engaging in physical activities brings more energy and motivation. Remember, it's okay to start slowly: a short 10-minute session is better than nothing. Find an activity that you like and participate in it regularly.

Share your experience with others to inspire them to get moving as well. Let's get active!

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