The Healthy “F” Word

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I’m talking about FITNESS. Obesity is at an all time high and unfortunately on the rise. With more and more people trying to get healthy these days, there seem to be new workout programs and videos everywhere you turn. But let’s get back to the basics. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body. In addition to looking and feeling great there are many other added health benefits of exercise.

All it takes is 150 minutes of exercise per week… only 30 minutes, 5 days per week, to benefit

 

Benefits of exercise include (but are not limited to):

– Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even breast and colon cancer!

– Promotes weight loss and weight maintenance (with a healthy diet of course)

– Strengthens muscles and bones

– Improves mood and sleep

– Increases lifespan

– Improves balance and reduces the risk of falls (Important for the “less young”)

How much exercise is enough?

All it takes is 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week (an average of 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week) to benefit. You will benefit the most from moderate intensity exercise which means you can talk comfortably for the duration of exercise and/or 50-70% of your maximum heart rate related to age.

How to Calculate Maximum Heart Rate

50% (220- Your age) x 0.5=
70% (220-your age) x 0.7=

There are many great heart rate monitors available for tracking your progress. Even if you can’t initially achieve this goal, just being up and moving about is better for your health than being sedentary.

What kind of exercise is best?

There are many different types of physical activities to choose from. The most benefit comes from a regimen that includes both aerobic exercise (what you would typically think of as “cardio” such as running, elliptical machine, biking, etc) and strength training such as weight lifting, squats, crunches, resistance band exercises, Pilates and so on. If you are not sure where to start, there are many great gyms that have personal trainers that can help you choose a fitness plan that is right for you. They can also ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly and safely.

Work Out Smart, Not Hard

Some of you may think that exercising harder and longer is better. In fact, running long distances or spending hours on the treadmill can lead to muscle loss. If you are looking to burn calories it’s actually more efficient to do high intensity interval training exercises, where you mix high intensity exercises to increase your heart rate with low intensity exercises for recovery. Overexercising can lead to fatigue and injuries and can increase your susceptibility to infections, so take it easy on your body.

Don’t Forget to Stretch!

Always stretch after exercise. Stretching helps with flexibility and helps prevent muscle injury after exercise. Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility and relieve stress.

Excuses for Not Exercising, and How to Overcome Them

Not having enough time
– We make time for what we prioritize. Case and point!

Not wanting to go to the gym
– Who said you had to be a gym member? You can exercise in your home or outside. A little fresh air is even great for stress relief!

Thinking exercise means vigorous intensity
– Remember, as long as you can talk comfortably while exercising, you are benefitting.

Working out intensely and feeling sick or getting injured
– It’s great to have the motivation to exercise, but if you have not been physically active for awhile, start off slow and gradually build up endurance and strength and before you know it you will be exercising at increasing intensity with more ease!

Feeling embarrassed
– Whenever we feel like others are judging us, it’s mostly because we are judging ourselves. Other people are not living our lives for us. If anyone has anything negative to say, that’s on their terms and we have the power to not let it affect us. You have nothing to prove to anyone but do have the responsibility to do what is necessary to keep yourself healthy.

Exercise can be enjoyable if you change your perspective and make it fun. In addition to exercise, don’t forget to incorporate a healthy diet and adequate sleep as a part of your daily routine. As always, you are worthy of being healthy and strong!

Let me know what you think in the comment section below:

– When could you fit in 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week minimum for exercise?
– What have your excuses been in the past for not exercising?
– What are your favorite fitness activities?

Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen. 

References

1. 2011, Feb 16. Physical Activity and Health. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health.

2. Garber, C, Blissmer, B, Deschenes, MR, Franklin, BA, Lamonte, MJ, Lee, IM, Nieman, DC, Swain, DP. 2011. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 43 (7): 1334-1359.

3. Klika, BC. Jordan, C. 2013. High Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results with Minimal Investment. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal. 13 (3): 8-13.

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