The last place you want to visit is Urgent Care. Guess what? There’s a way to avoid it. How? You need to stay fit. Don’t believe it? We’ve got a list of the nine ways fitness can help you avoid Urgent Care.
The smell of cleaning chemicals waft through the air like a reminder that someone was coughing bacterial particles all over the chair you’re sitting in just minutes before you sat down. Looking around the room, everyone seems to have a gray tint to their skin color, unlike the cartoons when they turn green. Music wanes in and out of your ears as a nurse keeps popping in from behind the seemingly one-way door to call the next name.
You hate sitting here.
You’ve landed in Urgent Care.
The hour-long waits to see a doctor for 10 minutes, the co-pays, the medicine costs, the blood tests and the worries are all symptoms of a trip to Urgent Care that surely we all want to avoid.
So how can you avoid this from happening time and time again?
Say hello to exercise.
Working out is the answer to your Urgent Care woes. You’d be surprised at all the benefits exercise can provide. The research is in and physical activity will make your life richer and fuller. And, it’ll keep you from seeing the doctor.
Here’s a list of the top nine ways fitness will help you avoid Urgent Care.
#1 It Improves Heart / Cardiovascular Health
One of the reasons we might instantly think of running straight to Urgent Care is anything to do with our heart. Chest pain is one of the most debilitating feelings and your cardiovascular system is crucial to your daily functioning. A healthy heart keeps us running on a daily basis. Exercise is mandatory for heart health.
Cardio workouts are especially helpful for this, hence the connection between the name cardio and your cardiovascular system. The United Kingdom’s NHS states that people who participate in regular physical activity have up to a 35% lower risk of stroke.
This is because working out strengthens your heart muscle and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, which is the bad type of cholesterol.
Cardio machines are a good place to start to work out your heart. Running on the treadmill, using the elliptical and biking are all great exercises for your heart and cardiovascular system. Also, swimming in a pool is a great cardio workout and is easy on your joints. Classes are another way to bump up your cardio.
Do Zumba, kickboxing, and circuit workouts. They’re often more fun than hitting cardio machines. And, if you’re looking to get in cardio outside of the gym, go hiking, running or biking on a local scenic trail.
#2 It Combats Diseases
Exercise gives you long-term benefits. It assists your body maintain a healthy status, but also helps it to prepare and avoid disastrous and detrimental possibilities to your health.
The Alzheimer’s Research Center advocates exercise as one of the greatest measures against the disease.
The United Kingdom’s NHS states that people who exercise have up to a 50% lower risk of type-2 diabetes and colon cancer. They also have up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer. Think ahead and reduce your risks for diseases that would definitely send you back again and again to Urgent Care – get to the gym!
To combat diseases, you’ll want to work out your whole body. It won’t just be enough to focus on cardio or weight training. You should focus on both. The cardio will work out your heart and endurance, while weight training keeps your muscles and bones healthy. You may even want to include activities like yoga to help your body relax and keep flexible.
#3 It Keeps Your Brain Fit
At first, you may just think of working out as something that helps your physicality. But, what you may not realize is that exercise is actually also good for your brain.
Harvard Medical School Psychiatrist John Ratey says, “Like muscles, you have to stress your brain cells to get them to grow.” Physical activity increases growth factors in the brain. This works to create new connections between brain cells, helping you learn. Also, exercise increases blood flow to the brain, giving it more oxygen and nutrients. So basically, working out makes your brain work faster!
The NHS says that people who do regular physical activity have up to a 30% lower risk of dementia. So keep your brain active by exercising!
The best workouts for the brain are actually sporty activities that force your brain to focus on multiple things. Things like tennis, dance and fitness routines are examples of this. Ratey says this is because you’re “challenging your brain even more when you have to think about coordination.”
#4 It Helps Control Addiction
When people become addicted to something, they often become addicted to the dopamine release it causes in the brain. Dopamine is nicknamed the “reward chemical” because it is released when it senses pleasure in the brain.
As a counter to seeking dopamine release, exercise provides a great alternative. First off, exercise can act as a beneficial distraction. It can help you to forget about your cravings. Also, exercise releases other happy chemicals that can replace the euphoria an addict may be seeking.
The best way to use exercise as a healthy distraction is to join something specific. Try CrossFit, MMA training, any type of sport or focus on meeting certain goals like running a triathlon or competing in an Ironman challenge.
#5 It Keeps Your Weight Under Control
Probably the number one reason people work out in the first place is to lose weight. Exercise and a healthy diet are the dynamic duo to keep your weight under control and keep you healthy.
Being overweight can bring forth a lot of health concerns in the short and long term. From high blood pressure to clogged arteries to unhealthy force exerted upon your bones from the extra weight, keeping your pounds under control is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle.
Exercising to lose weight is a highly debated and long discussed topic. Ultimately, you’ll need to think about your whole body, but a great place to start is cardio. Many people benefit from Zumba classes, running on the treadmill and going for hikes to maintain their weight. These are fairly easy exercises that keep your heart healthy and your weight steady. If you want to build muscle, however, you’re also going to need to incorporate weight training.
#6 It Keeps Bones And Muscles Strong
One of the reasons you may end up in Urgent Care is because your muscles and bones aren’t holding up. Got lower back pain? You need to build your lower back muscles! Building muscle creates protection for your joints and for other muscles.
Your body is a complete system and it works best altogether. Just working out your upper body, leaves your lower half at risk. It’s important to work out your whole body to keep your bones and muscles strong. The NHS says that people who exercise regularly have up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture. Now those are good odds!
Weight training is the ideal workout for building muscle and keeping your bones strong. Be careful not to overexert your workouts or you’ll find yourself hurting your muscles and bones rather than helping them. A combo of free weights, machines, and resistance training should work well for this goal.
#7 It Beats Sleep Deprivation
How many nights have you found that you just couldn’t sleep solid all the way through?
Working out is a great treatment for this.
Throughout the day, your brain builds up and your body holds on to the food energy you’ve consumed. The best way to release all of this is by working out! Without exercise, your body won’t reach exhaustion and you’ll be lying awake staring at the ceiling, thinking about your day, tomorrow and all the dozens of things on your to-do list. Avoid sleepless nights by exercising!
The trick here, however, is being sure to actually workout to exhaustion. Your body won’t feel as though it has released all of its energy for the day if you spent an hour at the gym and didn’t break a sweat. If you can’t motivate yourself, find a gym buddy, hire a trainer and/or join classes!
#8 It Boosts Energy And Improves Mood
Everyone by now has heard that exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy.
It’s true! Studies have shown that exercise improves your mood and can lessen symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
We all know that stress plays a factor for just about everybody in daily life – exercise is an enormous relief. Not only does it take you away from your world for a little while, it literally focuses your body on something else. When you get stressed, your muscles often contract, that’s why people tell you to do yoga to alleviate it. But you may also benefit from something more intense because that rush will release your pent up energy and contracted muscles.
Elissa Epel, an associate professor of psychiatry at UCSF, says exercise helps keep us from contemplating “by altering blood flow to those areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts again and again.” Working out actually lessens the number of stress hormones in your body. The NHS says that people who regularly work out have up to a 30% lower risk of depression. Plus, working out boosts your energy levels because it pumps up your adrenaline and gets your brain moving. It’s the silver lining to your playbook.
#9 It Keeps You From Crossing To The Other Side
Beyond Urgent Care lies the Emergency Room. It seems melodramatic, but exercise can quite literally keep you from standing at death’s door.
Obviously, it won’t create a fountain of youth inside of you, but it will help you avoid the dangerous health complications that put people in an ambulance. Heart attacks, stroke, diseases and high blood pressure – these are all possible scenarios that could land you in the ER.
You can avoid these by keeping up your exercise routine. The NHS actually says that people who regularly exercise have a 30% lower risk of early death. It always seems like that extra step in the day that you can skip because it doesn’t seem crucial to the bills you have to pay, but, ultimately, it’s vital to the longevity of the life you want to live.
Even the ancient Greeks revered exercise and illuminated its brilliance in their artwork. In an age of sitting with our eyes glued to a screen plugged into the Internet, it would be a shame to forget how important our physicality is.
Don’t think of it as the one extra thing you have to put on your list.
Make it fun!
Find physical activity that you actually enjoy so that you want to do it for more reasons than your health. It’s hard to think so far into the future and that’s why we often forgo fitness because we don’t see the results right away and sometimes we don’t even realize the benefits we reap from it. But we can’t forget how important it truly is to our overall life.
We can avoid the natural complications with a natural remedy. Working out is better than popping a pill. It’s one of the best natural medicines around. The best part is that the ability to exercise is all around you! You can work out in your living room, you can run on the sidewalk or at a local trail, you can climb steps outdoors, you can join a class so you aren’t alone – the possibilities are endless.
Working out is good for your mind, body, and soul. It boosts your brainpower, protects your bones, gives you energy, helps you sleep, prevents disease and keeps you out of Urgent Care. Don’t sit in that bacteria infested chair again anytime soon.
Hit the gym instead!
By Alyssa Bright