You may eat a diet that consists of only the freshest organically grown veggies, fruits, and grains, but without exercise, you are still missing the mark on total wellness!
Shocking..we know! However, the benefits of exercise are extremely well documented and shouldn’t be overlooked!
If we do not use our bodies through movement, they will eventually stiffen and age, so as some may think that exercise wears out the body, in actuality, it revitalizes and rejuvenates it!
Exercise is movement, movement is energy, and energy is LIFE!
There are two ways in which exercise has been proven to work:
The first is strength training which results in the body adding bulk to muscles to cope with the stress of lifting weights. This benefits our bodies because larger and better trained muscles process oxygen more efficiently and the heart doesn’t need to pump as hard to keep the muscles supplied! This is one reason why weightlifting is extremely helpful for cardiovascular disease.
The second way is aerobic exercise such as running, which benefits our bodies because it strengthens the heart and allows it to pump more efficiently, so that it doesn’t require as many beats per minute!
To put it into perspective, below are a few studies on the benefits of exercise that have been documented:
Studies have illustrated the ability of exercise to reverse physical illness:
-Osteoporosis slowed down by a weight-bearing exercise regime that was carried out three times a week!
-Exercise has been shown to reduce the severity of heart disease, glaucoma, hypertension and Parkinson’s disease!
-A study of over 25,000 Norwegian women found that breast cancer rates in women who exercised at least 4 hours per week were 37% lower than in women who did not do any form of exercise! The more the women exercised, the lower their risk of breast cancer was. Researchers believe this is because exercise reduces the amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries and reduces exposure to estrogen reduces the risk of breast cancer.
As simple as it sounds, sticking to a regular exercise regimen can be one of the toughest things to implement in your health program. The key is to stay motivated and your biggest motivator is YOU!
Choose an exercise that you enjoy! It can be a long walk in the park, swimming, dancing, yoga, jazzercising, circuit training, step class, spinning, skipping, running, biking, tai chi, it doesn’t matter as long as you do it REGULARLY!
This means at least 30 minutes daily, 3-4 times a week, every week!
It is also important to work in your peak training zone. You might find it useful to wear a heart monitor to make sure. Each individual’s peak training zone varies, but your basic zones can be established by subtracting your age from 220. The resulting number is your maximum training heart rate. Your peak training zone for building fitness and burning fat is 65-80% of that number.
For example, for a 28 year old person, the maximum training heart rate is 192. The peak training zone for fat burning is between 124 and 153 heart beats per minute, and is important to stay in that zone and not go over, as it is easy to do but puts excessive strain on your system and instead of enhancing the oxygen in the blood, it uses it all up instead.
The important thing to remember is to go at your own pace, and that more is not always better!
Studies have shown significant health benefits from a 30 minute walk 3 times a week! So don’t feel like you have to join the nearest health club or buy a lot of expensive exercise equipment!
And finally, try bringing it in full circle by thinking of all the benefits that you are bestowing on your body as you sweat your way through the last 15 minutes of your workout:
-Your muscles are toned!
-Your lymphatic system is stimulated to carry away toxins and wastes from the blood!
-Your heart is strengthened!
-With regular exercise, your pulse is slower and the heart’s workload is reduced!
-Your weight is more easily managed!
-Enzymes that are vital for the chemical interactions in the body are stimulated!
-Your sweat is relieving the body of stored toxins and wastes!
So, what are you waiting for? Put on those walking shoes and take a beautiful walk around your neighborhood or local park! Not only will you be enjoying fresh air and exercise, but you will also be amazed at the things you see when you are not inside your car!