Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Exercise- The Importance and Benefits!

So this is my first of what will be many posts on physical activity. I am an avid believer in exercise. Keep in mind this is for people that are healthy and have consulted a physician regarding exercise. Now, I'm not saying you need to be an olympic athlete, but EVERY healthy person needs (and I like to say deserves) to exercise. It is crucial to the mind and body. Not only will it keep you/get you in shape, but it does so much more for the body and mind than you realize.

Let's start with the "ticker" a.k.a your heart. Research shows that women who exercise are 40% less likely to have a heart attack and men that exercise are 60% less likely to have a heart attack than those who don't. If you take the average of men and women, that is a 50% decrease in risk for heart attack just from getting your butt off the couch and moving around a little bit. It is proven to reduce cholesterol, blood sugar, and the big one, BLOOD PRESSURE. The minimum amount of recommended physical activity for a normal, healthy adult is 30 minutes, 5 times a week. (Ideally, the new recommended amount is 1 hour a day, 5x a week), but 30 minutes a day is a good start and sufficient! If you do the math, that is only 2.5 hours a week for 30 minutes, an 5 hours a week for 1 hour...I don't care who you are and what excuses you may have, you can make time. There are 168 hours in a week. You are devoting between 3 and 5 of those hours to keep your body healthy and getting/staying in shape! I am in school full time, work part time, and have a ton of stuff to do (homework, studying, cooking, cleaning, etc.), but I MAKE the time for exercise, because I know the consequences when you don't.

Exercise is also proven to reduce stress. So many people are under stress and overwhelmed (between work, school, the economy, kids, etc.), but including more physical activity in your daily lives is proven to reduce this and the high blood pressure that is associated with stress. 

Make your kids exercise. Staying inside and playing video games and going online/watching TV all day is not exercising, despite popular belief. If you have a dog, get some air, take your child and your pet on a walk. Make working out fun for you and them. Not to mention, it is also a great way to spend more time and get to know your children. Did you know 1 in 3 children are classified as overweight? And the same statistic applies for American adults (34%). Don't let yourself be the "typical", overweight American. You CAN do something about it. Eating right and getting out and working out can benefit your life in so many ways.

"But I can't afford a gym membership"...AND? Go for a walk around your neighborhood, walk the kids to the park, do work out videos at home, there are SO many free options. If you have Time Warner cable, if you go to "On Demand" -- "Sports and Fitness" -- "Exercise TV", there are a HUGE variety of FREE workout videos ranging from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. The key is cardiovascular exercise. Start with a warm up, get that heart rate moving, and cool down. It will boost your metabolism, burn calories, tone the booty, and so much more!

"I work late and then I have to take care of the kids"...So when the children are doing their homework or in bed, get one of those free work out videos on demand (or download for free online) and take 30 minutes for YOU. Or, like I said before, take the kids with you and go for a walk.

Final note:
I'm not perfect. There's days I am tired too and I just don't go. That's okay. I'm not saying if you don't make five days a week you're going to die of a heart attack, I'm just setting the goals and giving you the facts so you can build your way up to your goal weight/healthy lifestyle and hopefully keep up with it as much as your life/schedule allow. 

So go for a walk, jog, hike, and get that body moving, everybody! Don't be afraid to sweat! You know you want to! 


Warning: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise routine.

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