Exercise is Important for a Healthy Lifestyle | Weston Sports | wvnews.com – WV News

Have you noticed a little extra fluff around your middle since the pandemic began? You are not alone. A study by the American Psychological Association found that over 60% of U.S. adults gained weight since the COVID-19 outbreak. Of these, 20% gained an average of 29 pounds per person, and 10% gained over 50 pounds. Weight gain can be a symptom of coping with stress and emotional challenges, and the pandemic has certainly provided the American public with challenges.

However, excess weight presents increased risk of negative health issues such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and many types of cancer. In addition, being overweight can fuel mental illnesses such as anxiety and clinical depression. In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to provide self-care for the sake of our physical and emotional well-being. Exercise can be an exceptionally useful adjunct to a healthy lifestyle, especially when combined with proper diet and nutrition and adequate sleep.

The pandemic has effectively shut down large gatherings over the past year, including most local walking, running, and biking events. With the gradual reintroduction of public functions, we can expect to see community 5K races opening up. At 3.2 miles, a 5-kilometer event is an excellent way to build endurance, get your body moving, and burn fat. The distance may sound daunting at first, but it is a very doable activity with the proper training. People often shy away from participating in a 5K because it is associated with running, but 5Ks typically do not include a time limit, so you can feel free to walk the distance at your own comfortable pace and enjoy the feeling of community with other walkers. Upon completion of a 5K, whether the finish line is crossed at a sprint or at a leisurely walk, you can be confident and proud that something good has been done for your body and mind.

For those interested in participating in and training for a 5K, there are multiple training plans available at your fingertips by just doing a simple computer search. The Couch-to-5K program is an example. This plan is designed to gradually progress someone with a sedentary lifestyle to the level of being able to complete a 5K distance on foot. The plan is adaptable to running or walking (or a combination of both) in which you begin by walking for a certain number of minutes and then running for a certain number of minutes. The time is progressed on a set schedule that is also adaptable based on your particular needs and fitness level. It is very important to remember that while there is a myriad of training plans available, every person’s needs and abilities are different and no “perfect recipe” exists that will work for everyone.

However, most training plans are very adaptable and can certainly help you achieve your goal of crossing a 5K finish line. It may be helpful to enlist the help of a fitness or health-care professional that can help assess your needs and assist you with designing an appropriate plan. It is always advisable to consult with your primary health-care provider prior to beginning an exercise program. Additionally, having a friend or family member to commit to a training plan with you can make the exercise more enjoyable and can help to keep you accountable, which will ensure better overall results.

Keep an eye out for local 5K races being reintroduced! Currently, Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital has four races planned — the Gobble Gallop, November 26; the Cocoa/Cookies Walk Run, December 11; the January 8 Snowball Run; and the Ground Hog Day Walk/Run on February 5.

Healthy living should be a joint effort between you and your medical provider, so make certain to engage them in your efforts. If you need a primary care physician — schedule today at monhealth.com/primarycare.

As a community, let’s get moving and healthy together!