Active Living: Definition & Benefits
With a world that is increasingly reliant on technology, we have become more and more entertained with a sedentary lifestyle. From sitting at a computer all day at work, to watching television on our days off, to being able to contact anyone in seconds without having to leave our house, active living is an idea that has become much lesser known and far harder to achieve. Active living is an approach to life that values physical activity and means making it a part of everyday life. Intentionally prioritizing active living doesn’t just mean joining an exercise class at the gym; it can be things as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stretching when you wake up, taking a walk during your lunch break, biking to work, and starting a garden at home. Pursuing an active lifestyle can be easier than we think and doesn’t have to be super time consuming or strenuous to achieve!
Active living and regular physical activity reap lots of rewards for our health and well-being. Regular physical activity can reduce our risk of heart attack, allow us to better manage our weight, minimize risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers, and lead to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. The benefits of exercise aren’t only physical; it can also improve daily moods, sleep patterns, and lead to an increase in certain brain chemicals like serotonin and endorphins and decrease stress hormones! Physical inactivity can lead to heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
Many of the people living in Beaufort County struggle with health issues, including hypertension and type 2 diabetes – with 15% of adults over 20 years old in Beaufort County having diabetes, and 35% of adults being obese. These things could be consequences of the diets of many of the inhabitants of Beaufort County as a result of the lack of access to healthier food options, but can also be attributed to a lack of active living.
The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL)
Collaborative is working to increase the resources and their accessibility in Beaufort County, so that everyone can have access to healthy eating and active living. HEAL provides a variety of resources for the residents of Beaufort County, ranging from the Places to Play map outlining activities in the area, to the creation of new parks in the area for families and friends to enjoy an active lifestyle together. The creation and promotion of various activities within our community not only allows the citizens of Washington and surrounding areas to enjoy the company of each other, but also to take pleasure in the benefits of active living and avoid the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. By increasing the resources to cultivate active lifestyles and providing education on how important it is, Beaufort County’s citizens will experience healthier, longer, and happier lives.