The Importance of Exercise
Just as sleep is essential, so is exercise. Countless numbers of studies tally up the numerous reasons for why exercise is so vital to good human health. Even just 10-15 minutes a day of walking can be beneficial. The benefits of this kind of exercise can include weight loss as well as a lowered risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.
How much exercise?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all Americans over the age of 6 get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, totaling at least 150 (but with more, the benefits skyrocket) weekly. Risk of premature death is nearly cut in half when comparing people who exercise vigorously for just one hour per day compared to those who only did it for 30 minutes per week.
The Benefits of Exercise
Lowers risk of stroke, heart disease, lowers blood pressure, lowers risk of diabetes, lowers risk of a number of cancers, prevents weight gain, increases weight loss, reduces depression, increase cognitive functioning, better muscular health and musculoskeletal health and increased energy!
Stress and Exercise
When the human body is exercising regularly, stress reduction also occurs. Exercise should be the first prescription for stress, anxiety and depression. When the body exercises, endorphin, a neurotransmitter (and natural pain and stress reducer), flood the brain with pleasure and healing. This creates a happy, healthy, well-balanced brain that really does help fight against anxiety, stress and even depression.
If you work in a stressful profession, neglecting your body makes you very vulnerable to that stress. The most obvious areas of care for one‘s body are diet and physical exercise. A first step towards improvement is becoming conscious of your reality. Take a piece of paper and describe how you are currently paying attention to your diet and getting your exercise. Are you pleased with the result? Also in this journal, describe a first step in improving your behavior for the next week. Reflect on the past, but look forward to the goal, make one simple action plan.
There is always a temptation for small indulgences. You may tell yourself, “I’ve been working hard, doing so much good” or “I deserve that candy bar or extra order of French fries.” Another may be, “I’ve been so busy meeting the demands of my job that I have just been too busy or too tired to go exercise.” Not all indulgences are bad but they can easily get out of hand. Becoming conscious of them is a first step to keeping a balance in your life. On your paper, list a couple of small indulgences that you have given in to during the past month. I know for me, I enjoy fast food from Wendy’. This is both unhealthy and expensive. If I can cut this one bad habit out for a month, I will save money and realize that I can eat healthier.
If you do make a plan to do exercise, try to make a connection with other people. Some people play sports together, attend exercise classes with others, find a partner to walk with or run with, etc. When someone else expects you to participate, this builds accountability and support for changing your habits. Also making the event social makes it more fun and offers more of a motivation than just the pure physical exercise (which you may actually be dreading).
These three simple exercises can be useful in helping you accomplish your physical goals this next year. First journal about your plan and then take one step to execute that plan. Second, consider any “indulgences” that are slowly taxing your health. Third, make the exercise (and even the diets too) social, adding a social element offer an alternative motivation to meet your goals.
I went for a bike ride the other day and in the sub-division I live there are a lot of kids. I see them outside having fun with no other cares in life. I remember being young. I wanted to be young again. To be innocent again. To be naive. To NOT care about anything. To exercise outside all day as a day job. To want to be outside and NOT have any commitments keeping me away from where I wanted to be. Those were the days…
I started a 6-week program to get my upper half in better shape with the simple but tried and try push up.
The program is called one hundred push ups I recommend you go to the website and check it out. I started in the average “3 category” after the initial test.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not have big arms (like this guy):
But I will say after the first few days my arms hurt, and it feels good. I am proud of myself so far. And want to fulfill the challenge of being able to achive one hundred consecutive push ups in one setting (eventually).
Will you join me?