Just Get Moving
“You have to stay in shape. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is.” —Ellen DeGeneres
Hey friends! I am excited to discuss exercise with you today!
Exercise is important for many reasons. Physically and mentally, there are numerous benefits. Most obviously, it burns calories and helps maintain a proper weight. Experts recommend 30 minutes of moderately active exercise per day. This could be a walk or bike ride, but also simply being more active like taking stairs when you can and doing active chores like yard work.
Exercise fends off heart disease and other illnesses. Regular exercise can raise HDL cholesterol, that is, the “good” cholesterol. One study stated that “both aerobic exercise and resistance training remain effective in controlling and improving cholesterol levels through various modes, frequencies, intensities and durations of exercise, in different populations.” Also, exercise promotes better sleep by increasing sleep duration, as found in this study.
Mentally, there are notable benefits. Exercise boosts mood and acts as a stress reliever.
And exercise helps you feel better and have more energy. These and numerous other mental benefits are well-documented in this study.
Types of Exercise
There are several types of exercise. Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is when the heart beats at a substantially high rate for a sustained period of time. At least thirty minutes, five times a week seems to be the sweet spot. The benefits of aerobic exercise are numerous. Cardio has been found to improve mood, confidence, emotional stability, memory and brain function. It also lowers cholesterol, reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, improves immune function and lowers blood pressure. In addition, cardio helps shed weight, improves muscle tone and supports good posture. It has also been known to increase stamina and energy and improve sleep.
Another type of exercise called strength training or resistance training involves building muscle. Not only does strength training build muscle, it also strengthens bones. It adds definition and tone to muscles, and in building muscle, this helps burn more calories, so it aids in weight loss. But strength training also helps improve balance, coordination and like aerobic exercise, posture. It is important to note that muscles need to rest between training so it is typically recommended every other day. Strength training has been shown to help arthritis pain and increase bone density and reduce fractures in postmenopausal women. Strength training proves a boost to a weight loss plan. It can improve metabolism by 15 percent in some cases because more calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat.
Finally, another helpful and often relaxing type of exercise improves flexibility. Think stretching and yoga. Stretching keeps muscles flexible, strong and healthy and able to maintain proper range of motion. Without it, muscles remain short, tight and weak. You can easily stretch on your own, or engage in yoga. The added benefit of yoga is that it is relaxing, and somewhat meditative. It promotes the body-mind connection that is important as well.
Tip: As with eating, variety is important. Try a mix of different types of exercise that you enjoy.
If you need to bump up your routine a bit, go for a 15-minute walk after dinner. It will aid in digestion and make you feel better.
Tomorrow: We take a deep dive into hydration.
Those who are crunched for time might be interested in this video about high intensity interval training (HIIT) by Martin Gibala, author of The One Minute Workout.
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