(continued from my blog posted yesterday on Anti-Age Me which can be found HERE)
3. Exercise…. D’ya think?
This one is a no brainer and by far the one that most people lack in their lives. I cannot stress how important regular physical activity and living an active lifestyle is. The human body was meant to be in motion and we are now at an all time high of sedentary habits where North Americans on average are spending more time sedentary than they are sleeping at night. Exercise has such a profound effect on metabolism, energy levels, and long-term health that some medical organizations are actually recommending that exercise be considered one of the vital signs based on evidence from medical health records and the occurrence of chronic disease in relation to activity and exercise (I will have more on this in another article). Some of the benefits of regular exercise include (but is definitely not limited to):
– Decreasing your risk of dying from chronic disease or an adverse cardiac event
– Better regulation of blood sugar and decreased risk of developing Type II Diabetes Mellitus
– Decrease in resting heart rate, exercise heart rate and more efficient function of the circulatory system
– Storing less fat due to increased energy expenditure and better regulation of postprandial insulin response for up to 24 hours after exercise
– Maintenance of muscle mass as you age (we lose 1% muscle mass per year, every year after the age of 40 if we are not physically active)
– Reduction in stress and improving mood including managing psychological disorders such as depression and ADHD
– Prevention and management of chronic pain
– Reduced risk of cancer
– Improved mobility and ease of daily activities/tasks as well as maintenance of mobility into the later years
– Better kinaesthetic sense (awareness of your bodies location is space)
– Increase in energy levels
– Improved sleep quality
– Better regulation of appetite (for over eaters and under eaters)
– Improved sexual endurance and prevention of erectile dysfunction
…Enough reasons yet?
We may know how good exercise is for us, but the classic line “I don’t have the time” or “I’m too busy to start exercising” always comes up. My response to this is to make activity and exercise work with your lifestyle, there is this notion that in order to exercise you have to go to the gym and go on the treadmill/bike/lift weights for an hour or more. This is ideal but not the be all end all; it is about being more active throughout your daily life. If a regimented gym routine doesn’t work for your lifestyle, then you have some other options to get your recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity in every day. Here are some tips if lack of time or a busy schedule is your issue:
– Try to get in 10,000 steps every day
– Buy a pedometer (step counter) or download a pedometer application on your phone (Noom walk, pedometer, step counter etc.) and see how many steps you get in each day over 3-7 days. If it is less than 10,000 start making more of an effort to increase your step count; take the stairs, park farther from where you need to go, go for a walk after dinner, stand up and walk around every 20-30 minutes of sitting and go get a drink of water or just do a lap around the office or house. For more elaboration on this check out my article “10,000 steps a day keeps the doctor away”
– Exercise accumulation theory
– If it is hard for you to get 30 minutes straight of exercise in this is for you. Research has shown that exercise in bouts of at least 10 minutes in duration at a moderate intensity (slight increase in breathing rate and body temperature at 65-74% of your maximum heart rate) can be accumulated throughout the day and added up to get similar health benefits as 30 minutes of continuous activity (although prolonged exercise for at least 30 minutes is best, this is the next best thing). So, if you are to go for a 10 minute brisk walk during your lunch break at work, a brisk walk for 10 minutes after dinner, and do 10 minutes of yoga or bodyweight exercises at home that is great for providing the many health benefits of continuous exercise without having to dedicate a set time block (although 30 minutes is only 2% of the time in your day so that shouldn’t be a problem).
– The daily squat challenge
– The squat is the absolute best exercise that you can do, better than any crunch or exercise machine the squat will work more muscles and will create a positive hormonal response, improve lower body strength, core strength, coordination, and balance, as well as help with lower body circulation, and burning more calories. Try to do 100 squats per day in bursts of at least 20 repetitions (can be adjusted based on strength and exercise experience). First thing in the morning, mid day at lunch (especially if you tend to get tired or “hit a wall” part way through the day), and 30-45 minutes before a meal. Try this out and you will notice a lot of differences in many aspects of fitness as well as your waistline.
– No seriously, sex is a great form of exercise! And if your significant other is nagging you to start exercising or to lose some weight you can always bring this point up. Just make sure it last more than 10 minutes so you can use it with the exercise accumulation theory 😉
That is for part one of my article series “Kick-start your metabolism, increase energy levels, and generally be more awesome”, stay tuned for part two and be sure to check out my other articles on Anti-AgeMe.com or www.DYNAMISonline.ca
Evan Ward BScHK, CSEP-CPT