We all know that exercise is good for us, but for someone with a chronic condition like Turner Syndrome (TS), it is even more important. Read below for some tips for making exercise more enjoyable for you and your children. Then, sign up for the Turner Syndrome Foundation’s (TSF) Take a Step for TS fundraising event, from October 25th-21st.
Exercise and the Pandemic
Since the pandemic started, the importance of physical activity to maintaining our health has become more and more evident to all of us. Several studies, such as a April 2021 study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, have been released, emphasizing that exercise not only protects your body from chronic conditions like heart disease, but also helps your body’s immunity to COVID and other viruses.
Because of the ongoing pandemic and our busy lives, many people have a hard time adding exercise to their daily routine. If you are one of those people, don’t worry! This article will help you learn why you should work toward exercising daily and teach you some fun ways you can add it to your life.e
Why Exercise Is Good for You
We all know that regular exercise is beneficial to our health. However, given how busy we are with our tasks, setting aside time for it is often difficult.
If you’re struggling to make exercise a permanent part of your day, don’t worry! It is never too late to start exercising, and any amount of consistent exercise is good for you. Exercise can:
- reduce the risk of developing diseases and conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, depression, arthritis, and cancer;
- train your heart to beat more slowly and strongly, increasing blood flow and decreasing your “bad” cholesterol (intense exercise);
- make your muscles more sensitive to insulin, lowering your body’s blood sugar levels;
- improve your mood, demeanor, thinking, and overall brain functioning;
- reduce your weight;
- help your body’s metabolic rate, increasing how many calories you burn and your energy level;
- increase your body’s production of antioxidants, promoting blood flow and skin health and delaying aging.
Due to these benefits and more, it’s no wonder doctors recommend we add regular exercise to our routine. Of course, you may have limits on how much or what type of exercise you can do. However, any amount of exercise is better than none at all! The following few sections can help you incorporate enjoyable exercise into your routine.
Tips for Children
Exercise is vital for the well-being of children to maintain their health later in life. It is important to encourage and guide your children to be physically active. For children, exercise often means play. They exercise during their soccer practice and gym class, or while playing tag and riding their bikes. Here are some ways you can help children promote their physical activity:
- Be active together as a family. If your child watches you having fun while exercising, they are more likely to mimic your behavior. In fact, if you are active with your children, you are likely to change their exercise habits. Some ideas are engaging in outdoor games or signing up for a swimming or running club as a family.
- Make it fun. Children like to have fun. Turn on that music and have a dance party, or add in a walk to the park or around the zoo.
- Make it a friendly competition between you and your child. See who can run the fastest or do the most push-ups.
- Plan vacations that involve physical activity, like camping, hiking or exploring new places.
- Make it a social activity. Invite your children’s friends to play and have fun in your backyard.
- Walk instead of driving, when possible. Walk your children to school or the park.
Tips for Adolescents
As we enter our adolescent years, our physical activity can drastically decrease. Here are some ways you can try to make exercise a regular part of your day:
- Set aside about 30 minutes for walking or running every day. With time, you can increase the amount of time you spend remaining physically active (60 minutes daily is the recommended amount). Remember that small steps go a long way.
- Invite friends and make it a social activity. It is often a lot more fun exercising with someone else.
- Join school clubs that involve physical activity. For instance, if you enjoy swimming, join a swim club at your school. Other activities, such as cycling, running, basketball, soccer, or tennis are other great ways to maintain physical activity.
- Reduce your screen time and use that time for walking each day.
- Participate in household chores. Cleaning up your room or sweeping the driveway can actually burn a good amount of calories.
- Ask your parents if you can go to the gym with them.
Tips for Adults
There are myriad benefits of exercise for adults. Let’s look at how you can add it to your daily routine!
- Walk and talk. If you are on the phone with someone, walk while talking. It is one of the easiest ways to burn some calories.
- Park farther away. If you are going to a shopping center, park farther away from the entrance to add some steps to your trip.
- Enlist a walking or jogging buddy. Go for a walk with a friend, neighbor, partner, child, or even a dog.
- Have some fun. Plan a family picnic or join your children when they are playing.
- Use a pedometer app. This will allow you to track your daily steps and meet your daily step goals.
- Sign up for fitness classes. You might find structured activities more effective for you.
Tips for Older Adults
As an older adult, exercise is one of the best ways to maintain your health and longevity. Exercise helps you:
- increase your life expectancy,
- improve your ability to do daily activities, and
- reduce your risk of falling.
However, if you are someone with a chronic condition, it is important to know how it may affect your ability to exercise safely. Physical activity should never take priority over your safety. Therefore, if you have a chronic condition or other limitations, only exercise as much as your body allows. Here are some suggestions for adding exercise to your routine:
- Do it safely. Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting any exercise program. Keep in mind how your health problems might affect your workout, and vice-versa.
- Schedule daily walks. This will allow you to remain structured and carry through with your physical activity goals.
- Have an exercise buddy. Ask a friend if they would be willing to take daily walks with you.
- Drink an adequate amount of water when exercising, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Staying hydrated during physical activity is very important to your health.
- Do water aerobics or another small-group exercise class at your local community center. Stretching and balance activities are often good for older adults. Doing them in groups might make it more fun for some.
Takeaway - What You Can Do Now
- Being physically active is beneficial to all of us, no matter our age. Some health benefits include reducing the risk of conditions like heart disease, age-related illnesses, and mental health issues.
- While it might be hard to start the habit, it is never too late to start your fitness journey.
- Children can be motivated to exercise by doing it with their family and friends, exercising during vacation, and participating in competitive activities.
- If you’re a teen, reduce your screen time and spend some time walking or running, choosing a club that involves physical activity, or doing more chores.
- As an adult, it may be hard to start exercising, but if you see it as a chance to get social, have fun, or learn from classes, you can get into the groove in no time!
- As an older adult, exercise is great for reducing your chance of injury and extending your life. However, it is important to exercise within your body’s limits, especially if you have a chronic condition.
- No matter where you are on your fitness journey, remember that any physical activity is better than none, and it’s better to take small steps to staying active than none at all.
Help support a good cause and improve your health in a fun way by joining TSF’s Take a Step for TS virtual run/walk, from October 25th-31st. Help raise money and awareness about TS and support individuals with the condition to excel in every aspect of their lives. To learn more about this event, click here.
Written by Dhruvi Patel, TSF volunteer blog writer. Edited by Prabhat Sharma, TSF volunteer blog editor, and Susan Herman, TSF volunteer lead blog editor.
© Turner Syndrome Foundation 2021