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The amazing benefits of exercise

The amazing benefits of exercise

We might have seen a few people who go to the gym regularly or people who just love exercising. Some people on the other hand are quite lazy or come up with excuses about not having time to exercise or they don’t find exercise interesting or maybe don’t think it’s necessary. Others might want to but can’t seem to be able to, it’s kind of a thing of “the mind is willingly but the body is weak”. So these group of people choose to sit at home watching TV all day, eating junk foods, engaging in activities they find interesting and wasting away the opportunities to make their lives better and healthier. What are the benefits of exercise?

There are several benefits of exercising. It reduces your risk of heart attacks, prevents stroke, hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease etc. And some of us might be wondering how true this is, well the name speaks for itself and that’s why many doctors all over the world advise their patients to engage in physical activities. So this article address the benefits of exercise.

Engaging in physical activities no matter how small it might be, whether it is walking around your living room, or swimming in your apartment’s pool, Exercise is one of the major ways of preventing premature death and hospitalization caused by several diseases.

 

Humans are becoming less active

 

Lack of exercise

 

In the ancient times when most of the inventions were not yet made, people were generally more active. They haunted for animals, walked distances to get food and migrated to different places in search of a better life. Not to say that these inventions haven’t made life easier but it has also made us lazier. It has ensured that people engage less and less in exercising. We are now given the opportunities to pick up our mobile phones and our next meal is just one call away and the food gets delivered right at our doorstep. I’m also guilty of this. No one uses the stairs anymore, we’d rather use escalators or elevators.

What if I told you that a lack of exercise especially cardio respiratory exercises have been found to be the most important risk factor for premature death. Well this is true. As mentioned in my previous post Improve Your Health With These Helpful Tips engaging in physical activities decreases the risk of obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.

More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, and over 17 percent of the children living in the US are obese. These statistics are indeed shocking. If this is coming from America alone then imagine if you were to consider the world in general. The interesting thing is we can change these statistics. We can change the way we live, the way we eat. We can make a decision to live healthier.

The reason I exercise is for the quality of life I enjoy

Kwnnwth H. Cooper

What are the benefits of exercise?

 

bodybuilder

Circulatory system

Exercise helps by increasing blood flow across all areas of our body replenishing our organs with more blood and therefore more oxygen. It a stimulatory trigger to our circulatory system. Because of the increased blood flow, it flushes out fat deposit in our arteries and veins which in turn helps in preventing a heart attack or a stroke. When we exercise, the fat deposits in our arteries and veins are broken down making it accessible for fat breaking enzymes to attack them and remove them from our system.

Brain and Memory

Exercise has also been linked to improved memory. Researches have shown that regular exercise can generate new neurons in our hippocampus which is the area concerned with memory. When we have several neurons working together, we are more likely to retain new information and consolidate from our short term to long-term memory.

read about suicide prevention on “National suicide prevention week

Endocrine system

Modest daily exercise also helps reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes. Why wait to take metformin when you can prevent having diabetes just by making a few lifestyle changes? Diabetes is associated with neuropathy (nerve problems), nephropathy (kidney problems) and retinopathy (eye problems) and these could all be prevented by taking that bold step to exercise. When you exercise, your cells become more sensitive to insulin which stimulate muscles and fat to absorb glucose from the bloodstream, thereby reducing blood glucose levels

These points highlighted above aren’t only the benefits of exercise.

 

Fitness

Musculoskeletal system

Active exercise as you know builds more muscle and burns fat. It helps with the way we look and feel. Everyone wants to look amazing or achieve their dream bodies, exercise can help with that, you can sculpt your ideal body, off course realistically. Exercise reduces body weight and BMI which is a known risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer, obesity, diabetes etc. So why not get up and get those muscles.

Stress

Regular exercise also help reduce stress. In my previous post Stress And How to Manage It.-The Secret to Natural Stress Relief I discussed in details the effects of stress and how to manage it. Stress can be good or bad but it’s the bad stress we have to worry about. Engaging in aerobic activities such as brisk walking, cycling, and swimming can help reduce daily life stress.

How can I be more physically active?

beach jogging

Exercise is clearly something we should all adopt into our lives. As highlighted above, there are several benefits of exercise. It is clearly a life saver. Majority of people do not exercise because they make excuses about not having any time to exercise which is very surprising as majority of people are often times locked indoors either watching TV, playing video games or just lying down using their phones or computer to surf the internet. Getting physically active doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym. A lot can be done at home or in your workplace such as

  • Parking your car a few blocks away and then walking to the office,
  • Avoid sitting down all day, always stand at least after an hour of sitting.
  •  Instead of ordering food to your work place, you can walk to a close by restaurant to eat.
  • Take a walk in the evening, brisk walking etc.
  • Swimming is very effective way to lose weight
  • Jogging is also encouraged if you’re looking forward to stay physically active.
  • Although going to the gym might encourage you a lot because you see people also trying to be healthier so you feel motivated too.

It’s not sufficient to have the knowledge alone and not put it into practice. So after reading this article I wonder why you’re still sitting down instead of being more active.

I learned a few years ago that balance is the key to a happy and successful life, and a huge part of achieving that balance is to instill rituals into your everyday life – a nutritious balanced diet, daily exercise, time for yourself through meditation, reading, journaling, yoga, daily reflection, and setting goals.

Gretchen Bleiler

check out  improve Your Health With These Helpful Tips 

Thanks for reading

 

 

Stress And How to Manage It.-The Secret to Natural Stress Relief

Stress And How to Manage It.-The Secret to Natural Stress Relief

The brain is the power house of the body, it controls all our body functions. It contains nerve cells that must work together for the body to function normally. We’ve all been stressed at one point in our lives. Some of us experience daily stress which could be a beneficial stress (positive stress) or non-beneficial stress (negative stress). For the purpose of this post. I’ll use stress to mean a negative stress. When stress becomes chronic, the brain causes our body to release the stress hormone ‘cortisol’. Raised levels of cortisol over time can affect our immune system and could lead to a decrease in the number of brain cells impairing our memory. It is very important for us to protect our brain and mental health so in this article, I’ll be covering stress and how to manage it.

 MY EXPERIENCE WITH STRESS
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

I once studied for an exam for almost 2 months. As the day to the exam drew closer, I got more stressed, I couldn’t eat nor sleep properly. I studied for about 8 hours a day and as time passed, I felt more anxious. Finally it was the night before the exam, I tried to revise all what I’ve studied but the pile of study material I had before me even caused me more stress. I tried to sleep but couldn’t.

It was the morning of my oral exam. My two lecturers were seated in front of me. You might have experienced the tension that comes with oral exams or interviews. They asked a very easy question but I couldn’t answer because I was not able to recall what the answer was. Guess what, I failed that exam. I’d like to think I failed not because I didn’t know the answer but because I had absolutely no idea on mindful ways to manage stress.

My experience is not unusual. Daily life stress cuts across all works of like. Some of us may admit that unmanageable stress has made us cry either in school or at work. As I mentioned in my health series post ‘improve your health with these helpful tips,’ stress contributes to many chronic deadly diseases. So it’s up to us to understand our stress triggers and how to deal with stress.

 PSYCHOLOGY OF STRESS

Like I mentioned earlier, stress itself is not very bad. It can prepare us to face the challenges of life. In life threatening situations, stress may have caused your body to generate an enormous surge of adrenaline{ adrenaline is a hormone released by the adrenal glands that help us to cope with emergencies} , which enabled you to complete a particular task or it may have pushed you to the limit where you achieved what you never thought was possible.

Stress activates the flight or fight response. When these happens, hormones are released to increase our breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. There is an influx of glucose to our bloodstream and into muscle tissue. These changes help us to deal with stress.

The problem results when stress becomes prolonged. Stress affects our health, mind, and brain. Prolonged stress affects several systems in our body. Your muscles remain tensed, your blood pressure and pulse rate remains high, there’s elevated levels of cholesterol, fats, glucose in the blood and all these in turn could damage our organs.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH STRESS

Symptoms from prolonged stress begin to arise. These may include headaches, backaches, muscle tension. Like in my case, prolonged stress affects our creativity and productivity. It can lead to diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome etc. chronic stress is detrimental. Stroke, heart attacks, cardiovascular problems, diabetes are all caused by stress or stress aggravates these conditions.

As mentioned earlier, long term stress causes a cortisol surge which makes our immune system vulnerable to common cold, auto immune diseases etc. memory and concentration problems arises, depression may occur. Stress in life might even lead to interpersonal relationships problems.

interpersonal relationships problems

interpersonal relationships problems

Stress has a huge impact on our brain and mental health so managing stress is very important. Our aim is not to eliminate the body’s stress response completely because as discussed, a little bit of daily life stress is good for us. Stress management can make life more enjoyable, as it provides us with tools to be creative, productive and healthy. How can we deal with stress? This article discusses effective guide to reduce stress

 HOW STRESS AFFECTS YOU?

• Headache
• Neck pain
• Heart diseases
• Back pain
• Muscle spasm
• Loss of memory and concentration
• Inability to be creative and productive
• Health disorders
• Emotional exhaustion
• Sleep problems
• Depression
• Interpersonal relationship problems

Chronic stress affects our body negatively so learning how to deal with stress is important to both your physical and mental health.

STRESS IN LIFE MAY BE CAUSED BY:

The first strategy to stress management is to identify the main stressors in our lives.

1. INSTABILITY{ financial or otherwise}
2. A DEMANDING ROUTINE { school or work place}
3. INTERPERSONAL CONFLICTS
4. AN UNFORTUNATE EXPERIENCE
As humans, we all react differently to stressors, which means what stresses one person may not stress another. Don’t try to compare yourself to others rather you must learn to identify the major stressors in your life. You are likely over stressed if your daily routine causes so much tension that you cannot relax or deal with the situation.

When people are stressed, they may turn to alcohol or drugs. Others engage in harmful eating behaviors or just make irrational decisions which may hamper their health and the health of those around them. These newly formed habits which they think should help them with managing stress may even make worse their situation so below I’ll highlight five tips to managing stress.

MANAGING STRESS ARISING FROM INSTABILITY
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

We do not all have total security in life whether it be financial, professionally, family, interpersonal relationships, etc. So how can you deal with stress originating from these insecurities?

• Always have a close confidant. Confide in a trusted friend of family member whatever the issue may be. Studies have shown that those with good support system are less stressed and depressed.

• Do not be so hard on yourself. When we’re faced with stressed, we sometimes focus on worst case scenarios. Negative thinking is bad for the mind and drains our energy. It is often said that where your mind goes, your energy flows so why not redirect your mind to positive thinking so your energy can flow in that path.

• We cannot fix everything. Something all we just have to do is to watch and be hopeful that things will fall in place most especially after we’ve given our best to a particular task. There’s no point bothering our mind with things we cannot change because they’ll only make us more anxious and stressed.

DEALING WITH STRESS ARISING FROM A DEMANDING ROUTINE
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

I’m a fifth year medical student and my life comprises of working at the hospital and studying. I spend most of my time at the hospital and this sometimes causes a great amount of stress. Below are mindful way to manage stress arising from these demanding routines.

• Learn to take a break and get adequate rest. Take the time to exercise and most especially get good sleep. Sleeping and waking up fresh will guarantee a fresh and sound mind.

• All works and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Take the time no matter how busy your schedule might be to have fun. Spend quality time with friends and loved ones. Engage in helpful fun activities e.g. bowling, skiing, playing games, going hiking, visit the local museum, going to the cinema.

• Get your priorities right and make sure you practice a good lifestyle. Eat well, exercise at least 4 times a week. Consider making your life simpler by reducing time spent at things causing you stress.

 HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS ARISING FROM INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

Conflicts are bound to arise from time to time whether it be school stress, workplace, or in our daily lives with friends or colleagues and sometimes loved ones. If you are experiencing interpersonal relationship problems, below are a few tips for managing stress.Read about  school stress management – 5 keys to success at school

• When someone offends you, try to remain calm as much as you can. I often repeat this mantra to myself whenever I’m faced with situations where someone tries to offend me. ‘No one has the power to make me upset’ and this really helps. Anger doesn’t serve any purpose in our lives so instead whenever you’re faced with such conditions, just excuse yourself and go to a place where you can think things through instead of engaging in hurtful word battles

never loose hope

never lose hope

 

• Try to see things from other people’s point of view. When we do this, it slows down our anger because we place ourselves in their shoes. Read more on managing anger.

• Most importantly, try to forgive. Forgiveness takes away the burden of anger and hate from us which could cause more stress. Don’t let those unforgiving thoughts linger, instead show forgiving thoughts towards yourself and to others. Read more on hate.

 STRESS MANAGEMENT FROM AN UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

When I think of traumatic events, the story of the popular lawyer and hymnist who wrote the poem it is well with my soul comes to mind. Horatio Spafford endured a series of misfortunes in his life starting with the Great Chicago fire followed by the death of his four daughters who died at sea after a ship collision and finally the death of his son who was born three years after the tragedy. Some of us might have had traumatic events in our lives but we must never let it keep us down. Rather we should follow a proper guide to reduce stress arising from these situations.

• One of the most important things to do in these trying times is to have a good support system. Learn to open up and talk to close friends, family members or a therapist about how you feel. You do not have to go through the trial period alone so the help and support of a loved one might go a long way to help with the stress that might occur after a tragic event.

• Try to keep a positive mindset and always remind yourself that things will get better. Nothing lasts forever so the pain and anguish you may experience will not also last forever.

 THE ROLE OF GOOD COMMUNICATION IN DEALING WITH STRESS.
spend quality time with friends

spend quality time with friends

Good communication is very essential to manage stress effectively. Talking to a friend or family member can go a long way to deal with stress in life. Psychologists say that people with good support systems cope better with stress and have better mental health than those who are loners. Spend quality amount of time with friends, and relatives. Laughter they say is the best medicine so never forget to have a good sense of humor. Laughter is helpful to the mind because it tries to tell the brain to take our focus from stress to Joy. When we laugh, the brain produces endorphins which in turn suppresses adrenaline.

 QUALITIES TO DEAL WITH STRESS

We must adopt good qualities to help us reduce stress. Show kindness to a stranger, practice goodness, and love yourself and others. Avoid hateful comments and refrain from anger because when we get angry, it steals our Joy. Be respectful to people. We must learn when and how to say no to demands that no longer serve our purpose and those that exceed what we can realistically handle.

 PRACTICAL GUIDES TO REDUCE STRESS
stress relief never stop dreaming

never stop dreaming

• Don’t expect perfection from yourself and others.
• Get sufficient relaxation and sleep. Give your body sufficient rest each day.
• Get regular exercise e.g. walking, cycling.
• Always have some alone time to think and deliberate.
• If something bothers you, talk to a friend or family member or therapist.
• Spend more time laughing with friends and family members.
• Set realistic goals. Don’t try to be perfect.
• Know your physical and emotional limits.
• Be organized. Have a reasonable and balanced schedule.
• Talk to your therapist if you feel you cannot talk to your friend.
• Parents can try to communicate effectively with their children as these breeds joy and happiness in the home.
• If you’re a religious person, always pray to God. I’m a Christian and I’m taught to cast all my burdens and fears upon God and he will give me rest. So always find time to pray.

THE MENTAL HEALTH
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

Mentalhealth.gov says the mental health includes psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing. It affect how we think feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is very important throughout life. If the mental health is impaired, it could affect our thinking, mood, and behavior. So it is up to us to protect our mental health by avoiding stressors. Chronic stress causes a deterioration in our health hence knowing about stress and how to manage it goes a long way to protect our brain function.

With all these being said, this is not to say that we will lead stress free lives but these tips for managing stress goes a great length to reduce our daily life stress, worries and anxieties. We must understand stress and how to manage it.

I can do this

I can do this

Making certain lifestyle modifications is the best start to understanding stress and how to manage it. Start with eating a balanced healthy diet as well as getting enough sleep and exercise. Read more on life style modification ‘improve your health with these helpful tips’. Limit caffeine intake and alcohol. Do not use nicotine and other drugs. WHO suggests taking breaks from work and spending time with family and friends can go a long way to help reduce stress.

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Until next time. Görüşürüz.

Improve Your Health With These Helpful Tips #medseries2

Improve Your Health With These Helpful Tips #medseries2

Previously I started a medical series. My medical series articles are helpful tips to improve our health and the health of our loved ones. So if you missed my last post, click here for a recap otherwise proceed to today’s reading. I’ll be writing about the importance of ‘Good nutrition’.

Like I described in my last post ‘why we need to stop taking things for granted’ I emphasized the importance of our health. Our health should never be taken for granted. Sometimes we usually do not know what it means to stay healthy until we’re bed ridden in the hospital. Taking your health seriously is a duty you owe yourself so why not read on and apply these principles to your daily life.

A man once to me, I am young so I’m going to keep smoking and drinking because I only got one life to live and besides if I don’t try all these now I’m young, is it when I’m old? These unhealthy habits all makes sense to him right now until he’s diagnosed with alcoholic liver cirrhosis which can lead to end stage liver disease or some form of cancer. Years of chemotherapy or radiation therapy plus enrolling in the liver transplant list follows. Ummm sad.

Prevention is better than cure is a very common saying and I’m sure we’ve heard the expression. Below are tips on things you can do today to ensure a better health and prevent illnesses.

 

WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
vegetables

good nutrition

Being healthy is impossible without good nutrition. Good nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy life. And for good nutrition, you need a healthy, balanced diet. ‘healthlline’ defines a balanced diet as the food that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. To get a good nutrition from your diet, you should consume the majority of your daily calories in:
• Fresh fruits
• Fresh vegetables
• Whole grains
• Legumes
• Nuts,
• Lean protein.

More so, you may need to consider controlling your intake of salt, sugar, fat and you should eat smaller portions to help with your body’s metabolism.

When deciding to buy food from a store, you can check the packaging to determine if it’s a whole-grain food eg
• Bread
• Cereal
• Pasta
• Rice

These whole grain foods are richer in nutrients and fiber than the alternatives made from refined grain. Remember good nutrition is paramount to our health.

As for proteins, go for poultry products, lean meat and try to eat fish a couple of times a week. Fish oil are rich in omega 3 which is necessary for our heart function.

You are at the risk of becoming overweight when you consume too much sugar and unhealthy fat. I’m sure you don’t want to become overweight, so always;
• Limit the use of sugar additives to your meals.
• Chose to drink water instead of sweet beverages.
• Avoid sugary desserts and replace them with fruits.
• Limit your intake of unhealthy fats from sausages, meat, butter, cakes, and cookies.
• Use healthy cooking oil, e.g. olive oil.

Helpful Tip for eating healthy

eating healthy

good nutrition

Too much salt, or sodium, in the diet is also harmful. It raises your blood pressure and if not controlled can lead to hypertension which is a silent killer.

Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, are major killers on their own and are also risk factors to several medical conditions as well. Would you believe me if I told you that from hypertension you could get a stroke. Diabetes can cause kidney, nerve or eye problems. Obesity can cause fat build up in your arteries which could occlude blood flow to many organs of your body.

To prevent these fatal medical conditions, good nutrition and regular exercise are your best bet for a safer health. These habits can help you lose or maintain weight. You could be start by making some of the small diet changes listed above. Refer to my ‘last post’ to read about the importance of physical activities.

In summary, the importance of good nutrition cannot be overlooked because it saves us from several devastating medical conditions. You are what you eat. To be fit and healthy, you need good nutrition. Your health is in your hands.

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Improve Your Health With These Helpful Tips #medseries1

Improve Your Health With These Helpful Tips #medseries1

WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Our health is very important so we must take time to take care of ourselves. This is a mini medical series and I’ll be covering topics on ‘hand washing’ and ‘physical activity’.

Being sick makes us feel bad and if the sickness is worse, it can take our joy and happiness. We may not enjoy the things we used to enjoy e.g a good meal and you may not be able to even get out of bed. You may even need a friend or loved one to look after you, and you may have to pay for treatment to enable you get better.

Prevention is better than cure is a very common saying and I’m sure we’ve heard the expression. Below are tips on things you can do today to ensure a better health and prevent illnesses.

 

GOOD HYGIENE PRACTICE

hand washing

 

Good hygiene may be described as the principle of maintaining cleanliness and good grooming of the external body. A good hygiene practice entails ‘hand washing’. Hand washing has become the most basic and most important life saver. Imagine the harm you’ll bring to yourself after working in the hospital with several diarrhea patients and grabbing a bite without thinking to wash your hands. Or rubbing your eyes and nose after playing with dirt. Our hands are constantly filled with germs and small microbes so our best bet for a safe health is a hand washing. A simple hand washing practice can protect your life and the lives of your loved ones so when do we wash our hands?

For doctors, hand washing is always recommended as it may save lives. Imagine the outcome of patients if the doctors were to go from one patients to another without a good hand washing practice. It would be devastating right? WHO has five recommended rules for doctors about hand washing.

• Before touching a patient
• Before clean/ aseptic procedure
• After body fluid exposure risk
• After touching a patient, after touching patient surroundings

The CDC also has these tips on when to practice hand washing. And this can protect your own health and the health of others.

• Before, during, and after preparing food, before eating food.
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick, before and after treating a cut or wound.
• After using the toilet, after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste, after handling pet food or pet treats, after touching garbage

The practice of hand washing should never be taken for granted. As stated earlier, hand washing is the most important measure to prevent harmful germ transmission and also protect ourselves. So we must all learn how to wash our hands correctly.

The CDC offers these helpful tips on hand washing.

• Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
• Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
• Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
• Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
• Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

In cases where there’s no water, then a hand sanitizer comes in handy. Hand sanitizers do not kill all germs and should not be preferred over hand washing. Hand washing with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them in most situations.

 

STAY PHYSICALLY ACTIVE

fitness

 

Physically activity is very important as it reduces your risk for cardiovascular diseases and other fatal medical conditions.
Regardless of your age, you need regular physical activity to stay in good shape.

People nowadays generally do not exercise. Everyone wants to just stay home and be lazy and there are risks of being sedentary. Lack of physical activity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally.

According to WHO, Physically activity can help you to:
• Sleep well.
• Lower blood cholesterol.
• Maintain strong bones and muscles.
• Maintain or achieve a healthy weight.
• Lower your risk of suffering from depression, lower your risk of premature death.
• Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce the risk of diseases, reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer
• Decrease the risk of vertebral fracture
• Reduce high blood pressure, reduce risk of stroke, reduce stress

 read more What are the benefits of exercise? 

Helpful Tips

Regular moderate intensity physical activity such as walking, cycling, and low intensity jogging or participating in sports has significant benefits for health.

Physical activity varies for different age group so it’s better to consult a professional to determine what is right for your age and your health. According to various recommendations, children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. Adults should get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity every week.

Exercising should be fun. Going to the gym 2-3 times a week would go a long way in avoiding the risks associated with lack of physical activity. Choose activities that are fun. You might consider basketball, tennis, soccer, brisk walking, cycling, gardening, swimming, canoeing and jogging.

So no matter how busy you are, always leave time for physical activity. It is always better to be healthy than wealthy. So get your running shoes, a headphone and start exercising.

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