We can’t emphasize enough the importance of regular exercise. Not only does it help with your weight loss efforts, it also dramatically reduces your risk of developing certain diseases. Along with a good nutrition, regular exercise is truly the key to achieving a longer, happier and healthier life.
Studies show that frequent physical activity strengthens your heart muscle, allowing it to work more efficiently. It also helps lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels and enhance blood flow. These favorable effects can reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Research also highlights the association between regular activity and reduced risk of type II diabetes and osteoporosis. Data from a study in a Harvard publication found that taking a 60 minute daily brisk walk could reduce the risk of type II diabetes by 34%. Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that women who walked four or more hours per week had 41% fewer hip fractures than those who walked less than an hour a week.
In addition to the physical perks, exercise is also linked to psychological benefits. The endorphins released during exercise can improve your mood and increase your self-esteem. Physical activity can also help you cope with stress and anxiety.
Many clients ask us “How much is enough with regards to exercise?” Our answer is always the same, “anything is better than nothing!” The National Academy of Sciences recommends that adults should strive for 60 minutes of physical activity per day. This sounds like a lot, but remember that it can be broken down throughout the day. For example, you can wake up 15 minutes earlier and start your day with a quick walk. Take a 10 minute break while at work to walk the stairs and do some stretches. No time to get to the gym? No problem – pop in an exercise DVD when you get home from work and do 35 minutes of pilates, kick-boxing or aerobics. Or take the dogs (or your spouse/children) for a walk so they can reap the benefits too!
If you’re new to exercise we suggest taking advantage of a complimentary training session with a Certified Personal Trainer. Most individuals find it very comfortable and valuable to train under the guidance of an expert. A Certified Personal Trainer helps you set and obtain realistic goals that most individuals find challenging to do on their own. If a CPT is not for you, the most important advice we can give is to choose an activity that you enjoy – this will help you view exercise as a reward rather than a punishment.
-Alexandra and Brandon
SOURCES: The New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 7, 2002. Stroke, Sept. 19, 2003. Annals of Internal Medicine, Jan. 16, 2001. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 13, 2002; Sept. 10, 2003; May 14, 2003.