Exercise Your Way To Health
Exercise has tremendous benefits which you will notice as you continue to read this article. We cannot be educated sufficiently on the topic "Exercise". A lot of emphasis is placed on its importance. However, we tend to shy away from it even though it can be beneficial to us. Sometimes when we hear the word 'exercise', our thoughts are like, "Gosh!", "hard work", "I don't feel to". Many of us find an assortment of excuses to give when someone is encouraging us to exercise. Our imagination and brain work overtime in trying to come up with a reasonable excuse. Remember that our bodies were made to move and we just seem to be suppressing our very nature. Let us determine within ourselves to give it a try. Do this for you and no-one else. Our attitude towards exercise will determine how successful we would be in achieving our goals.
Choosing to Exercise
We need to make exercise/physical activity a part of our daily lives. As children, we played untiringly. We were displeased when parents interrupted our play-time. We had fun during our childhood - we ran, swam, jumped, played ball, skipped and a number of other activities. What has gone wrong in adulthood? Does being an adult mean that we have to limit our recreation or our ability to have fun? Some of us use the time factor as an excuse, our age or the fact that we are de-motivated. We are definitely doing ourselves a disservice. Exercise/physical activity is for all age groups plus we do not need anyone to motivate us as the purpose of exercise is to keep fit and healthy (I did not say become a fashion model ). Some of us depend on society to dictate the pace of our lives rather than we have control and do what is right for ourselves. Have we allowed the burdens of life to hold us back? We can choose to try and simplify our lives, whereby we can include good, healthy physical activities. Let us include the entire family as this can draw the family unit closer together.
The Values and Benefits of Exercise
Exercise/physical activity has great value in preserving functional capacity and reducing disease and physical frailty in later years. It improves your general well-being and it helps two specific psychological conditions: depression and anxiety. Exercise is further associated with improvements in the health-related quality of your life. Some immediate benefits of physical activity are:
- It enhances relaxation
- It reduces stress and anxiety
- It enhances your mood state, and
- It can help counter some of the negative consequences of declining health.
Some long term benefits are:
- Improvements in your general well-being. Your self esteem can improve and also self-efficacy (the sense of control over one's environment and the ability to functiion effectively).
- It improves your mental health.
- It can also delay or postpone age-related declines in cognitive performance (memory, attention and learning).
- An added bonus is weight loss (which comes not only from exercise but also how you manage your daily diet).
Exercise complements your diet. The combination helps you to lose weight and feel good about yourself.
Fuel for Physical Activity
I would like to mention briefly about the fuel for physical activity. The food that we eat supplies the energy that our bodies need for movement. The energy in food comes in three basic forms - carbohydrate, fat and protein. Carbohydrates provide most of the energy required during exercise of moderate to high intensity. Fats and protein provide most of the energy you require at rest and during low-intensity exercise.
It is essential that you consume sufficient water before, during and after exercise. Adequate supplies of vitamins and minerals are essential for the body to function and these are normally supplied by a balanced diet. Menopausal women may take an additional calcium supplement to offset osteoporosis.
Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion and it is an important part of health. Sometimes it is difficult for some of us to bend and touch our toes or even pick up something off the floor. There may be aches and pains in some of our joints. Stretching is one form of remaining flexible. Some persons perform mild yoga exercises which have been known to improve flexibility. Joint stiffness and pain can be reduced with flexibility exercises.
It is ideal to do warm-up and cool-down exercises in order to provide a safe transition to and an adequate recovery from more vigorous exercises. There are specific benefits of warm-up exercises:
- Delivery of more oxygen to the working muscles.
- Increased elasticity.
- Improved mechanical efficiency and power.
- Decreased susceptibility to injury.
- Increased lung air circulation.
- Improved efficiency.
A physiological definition of warming up is increasing the temperature of muscles and blood for the body's transition from rest to activity.
You should set goals for yourself. Don't overdo because that can cause you to become de-motivated, especially when your muscles become tired. You are not competing with anyone, so take your time. You can exercise with a friend, a group or by yourself. If exercising by yourself, you can exercise with music - that should give you a boost - music naturally makes you feel to move. You should enjoy the experience.
You can set whatever goals you like but try not to focus too much on weight loss (let that be a by-product). That can become frustrating, especially if the weight does not come off fast enough for you. Set realistic goals - goals that you can realise without quitting. Over-ambitious goals can lead to soreness or injury.
You can choose days and times that would be convenient for you. You can plan your exercise regimen and try your best to stick with it. Please do not compare yourself with anyone else - because if you find that you are not measuring up - you will want to quit and your efforts will be defeated.
Let us therefore try our best to get the desired benefits and results from exercise. Let us start moving our bodies in order to remain fit and healthy.
- Physical Activity For The Elderly
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