January is almost over. So how are you doing on those New Year’s Resolutions? No matter what your answer is, the good news is that every day is a great day to recommit. If exercise was not on your original list of goals this year, you may want to consider adding it on. Don’t think of it as a New Year’s resolution, think of it as a lifestyle change – one that increases your lifespan as well as your life quality.
How much exercise is needed? The experts recommend that you get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity. In addition to aerobic workouts, it is also recommended that you have 2 sessions of strength training per week.
Studies show that sedentary lifestyles are a major risk factor for many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. One study showed that women who spent six hours or more sitting were 34 percent more likely to die than those who spent fewer than three hours a day sitting.
The study concludes with this statement:
“We found that both leisure time spent sitting and physical activity are independently associated with total mortality. Associations were stronger for cardiovascular disease mortality than for cancer mortality. Public health messages and guidelines should be refined to include reducing time spent sitting in addition to promoting physical activity. Because a sizeable fraction of the population spends much of their time sitting, it is beneficial to encourage sedentary individuals to stand up and walk around as well as to reach optimal levels of physical activity.”
Research shows that physical activity extends your life and reduces your risk of dying by 25 – 35 percent. Now that alone is reason enough to GET MOVING!
In our Positivity Life Podcast, Episode 10, award winning, vascular expert, Steven R. Talbot shares how one of the simplest exercises of all can literally save your life! Listen to Steve’s life-changing/life-saving episode here: “The Amazing [ & life-saving] Benefits of Walking.”
In addition to living longer, daily exercise can greatly improve the quality of your life. Here are seven additional, life enhancing reasons to recommit to exercise:
- Heart, lungs and blood vessel health improves with aerobic exercise. That is any activity that increases your respiratory rate (to the point where you can still talk but not sing) and uses large muscles of the body.
- Regular exercise increases your metabolism and makes it easier to maintain optimal body weight.
- Strength and endurance are increased giving you larger muscles and higher levels of energy (and who doesn’t want that?)!
- Because it lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol), regular exercise offers protection against cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
- Weight-bearing and resistance exercises strengthen and thicken bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Growth hormones are increased with exercise. This stimulates cellular reproduction and regeneration to help maintain muscles and bones.
- Exercise makes you happy! Seriously, it improves the function of your nervous system and releases endorphins (“feel good hormones”) that can improve your mood, help reduce stress and anxiety and bring on increased feelings of wellbeing.
With all the health benefits regular exercise has to offer (not to mention increased longevity and vitality), it’s funny that we still need a little boost to help us stay motivated. But sometimes we do and that’s okay. One of the most important motivators, when it comes to exercise, is doing what you LOVE. When your exercise plan involves fun, friends, and challenge and feels rewarding to you, then you’ll be more likely to enjoy it on a regular basis. If you’re the competitive type, add purpose to your workouts by signing up for a 5K or 10K and then start training. If connecting socially motivates you, work out with a friend or with a group. If you value your personal ponder time, exercise on your own. If you love nature, do your exercise outdoors where you can soak in all of the beauty with your senses. If boredom gets the the best of you, create a weekly routine that includes lots of variety (from zumba to racquetball, swimming to hiking – the options are endless). If music gets you moving create a great play list to use when you walk, run or just dance in your own living room (one of my personal favorites). Most importantly, just keep moving so that you can reap all the benefits of life enhancing exercise!
We only get one body so take care of it and when it comes to living life, go for quality as well as quantity! For a Positivity Life, remember: One BODY, One LIFE, be wise and EXERCISE!