Exercise and Health

“I like how I feel after exercise, but it’s the starting part that I have a problem with most days.”  Does this sound familiar? It’s the story of my life. I start to work out and may even do it for some weeks and months, but I struggle with consistency. What is it that makes others love working out? How do I make time for it? The answer is simple. We make time for what we consider to be a priority in our lives.

Why should you exercise? 

Here are a few facts from womenshealth.gov,  but in a few words, to improve your health. Exercise to manage weight and take advantage of doing something healthy for yourself. Consider it a way of pampering yourself. However, there are also many health benefits to making physical activity a way of life.

There is strong evidence that regular exercise can lower your chances of:
Heart disease
Stroke
High blood pressure
Unhealthy cholesterol levels
Type 2 diabetes
Metabolic Syndrome – WebMD defines Metabolic Syndrome not as a disease but as a group of risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol, and abdominal fat.
Colon cancer
Breast cancer
Falls
Depression

Hearing this should motivate us to exercise. But wait, there’s more.

What can happen if you don’t exercise and are out of shape and overweight?

Heart disease

High Blood Pressure

Stroke

Type 2 diabetes

Breathing Problems

Osteoarthritis

Gallbladder Disease

Sleep Apnea (breathing problems while sleeping), and some cancers.

How much exercise should you get? 

There are many theories and views on how much is needed. Still, the public health guidelines recommend a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking or gardening) or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise (jogging, aerobic, and jump rope) weekly.

That isn’t a lot of time out of a week. It boils down to priority and time management. If you are looking to lose weight, you may have to increase your aerobic activity.

Type of Exercise

At one time, I thought cardio was the only important thing with exercise. I later learned from a trainer that I needed to also include strength training and flexibility through stretching in my fitness regimen. Weights are one way to increase strength but using your body weight is quite affordable and cost-free. I have frequent low back pain from scoliosis, but when I do stretching and strength training at home, I notice a big difference in the level of my discomfort.

Walking

By far, the most comfortable and cheapest form of exercise is walking. It’s free and takes little effort and preparation, but if done correctly will reap good results. It is also an excellent place to start for beginners.

The biggest question is, why aren’t you doing it if you know you should?   There are various reasons why many don’t, including lack of time, little or no motivation, no energy, and the demands of life.

Breaking Barriers

Here are a few suggestions to help eliminate excuses for not exercising:

Try daily exercises at home, such as walking, gardening, or videos.

Wear a device that counts how many steps you are taking per day. I use the Fitbit Inspire and significantly increase my movement during the day. I give myself personal challenges.

Have an accountability partner or an exercise buddy.

Hire a personal trainer.

Participate in group fitness activities.

Everyone needs exercise. It is one of the best ways to prevent illness, improve health, and slow aging.

 

 

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