Exercise - The Fountain of Youth

If you’re searching for the fountain of youth, look no further than your closest park, gym, or exercise class. Not only does regular activity strengthen your muscles and improve heart and lung function, but it can also reduce your risk of major diseases, stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and even add years to your life. Studies show just thirty minutes of physical activity every other day is all that’s required to reap big benefits.

Exercise is one of the most important pieces of any healthy lifestyle. While diet is very important, we are going to focus on movement this month.  Making movement a priority in your day is key to establishing healthy habits that will help create longevity in your life.

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Many health organizations suggest that regular physical activity may provide:

LONGEVITY — Workouts such as brisk walking or cycling boost the amount of oxygen consumed during exercise. Improving your aerobic capacity by just 15 to 25 percent would be like shaving 10 to 20 years off your age. Aerobic exercise may also stimulate the growth of new brain cells in older adults.  Studies have consistently shown that being active cuts the risk of premature death by about 50 percent for men and women.

REDUCE INFECTIONS — Moderate workouts temporarily rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness of immune cells. That may explain why people who exercise catch fewer colds.

PREVENT HEART PROBLEMS — Not only does exercise raise “good” HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, but research suggests it may help reduce arterial inflammation, a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

EASE ASTHMA — Upper body and breathing exercises can reduce the need to use an inhaler in mild cases of asthma.

CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR — Exercise helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level by increasing the cells’ sensitivity to insulin and by controlling weight. Regular brisk walking can also significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

PROTECT AGAINST CANCER — Exercise may reduce the risk of colon cancer by speeding waste through the gut and lowering the insulin level. It may also protect against breast and prostate cancer by regulating hormone levels.

COMBAT STRESS — Regular aerobic exercise lowers levels of stress hormones.  For many people, exercise helps relieve depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. It helps boost your mood by increasing your endorphins. These “feel good” hormones flood your brain while you exercise, and continue for hours even after your workout has ended. Exercise has been referred to as a natural antidepressant.

WOMEN’S HEALTH — Increasing fitness by walking or practicing yoga enhances mood and reduces some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.

MEN’S HEALTH — Pelvic exercises help prevent erectile dysfunction and possibly benign prostate enlargement, a common cause of urinary problems.

Make Small Changes

Like anything else, exercise is a habit that is developed over time. Don’t be afraid to start small. If you can’t commit to 30 minutes of exercise at once, then break it down into smaller chunks. Just start taking steps to work towards thirty minutes of exercise five days a week. You will be benefiting your healthy lifestyle, and establishing new habits for years to come.

What type of activity can you commit to this week?

Many adults find it difficult to exercise, and often they’re not healthy because they don’t move around enough. If you start exercising now, you’re likely to live a long and healthy life!

by Crystal Jarvie

Crystal Jarvie is certified integrative health coach for HealthStyles 4 You. She focuses not only on nutrition - but also on relationships, physical activity, career and spirituality – and how those five things are connected to your health and vitality. She’ll help you take your health to the next level. For more information, and to schedule a free health evaluation please visit www.healthstyles4you.com.


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