A brand new month, a brand new year! A new You too? I’m sure plenty of you are out there smashing goals, creating some amazing habits and posting gym-selfies like a mofo. If that’s you, keep up the amazing work my fitness friend!
Now, I also know there may be a few of you feeling frustrated at this point, hoping for a fitness miracle but stuck thinking, “well there’s always 2017, right?” Don’t you worry! The first couple of weeks can be the toughest, so hang in there. I’ve dedicated this blog post to providing you with some of the many health benefits of physical activity and why you should make a little time to squeeze some in.
According to CSEP (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology), adults aged 18–64 should partake in at least 150 minutes of (moderate to vigorous intensity) aerobic physical activity each week. This includes movement that increases your heart rate and rate of breathing to a personal level between 5–8 on a 1-10 scale.
When referring to an RPE scale (Ratings of Perceived Exertion), a 5 means you can still carry a conversation but struggle when singing Beibers’ latest lyrical wonder; however, at an 8 you’ll have trouble saying a few words without gasping for a breath. It’s also favorable to include muscle and strengthening activities 2 days per week. There are 168 hours in a week, can you think of anywhere in your schedule that you can sneak in 2.5 hours of exercise?
Now that you know how much physical activity you should aim for and how to gage your exertion, let’s talk benefits!
- Weight Management
It all comes down to calories in and calories out. Physical activity accounts for ~30% of calories expended, which helps us reach that deficit we aim to achieve. This also affects body composition by decreasing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass. Remember, healthy weight loss is 1–2 lbs. per week.
- Mental Fitness
When the mind is stressed, as is the body. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins such as dopamine and serotonin, which can help to reduce anxiety, elevate mood, boost decision making skills, and slow the cognitive decline that accompanies normal aging.
- Bone Strength
Your skeleton becomes stronger by experiencing stress from weight-bearing activities such as walking, jumping, yoga, and strength training. When the skeletal system is taxed by such exercise, osteoblasts are sent to the stressed area to begin the process of bone remodeling. This becomes very important as we age, as our bones can become brittle over time; however, with appropriate exercise this can ensure a high quality of life that allows for long lasting independence in our later years. Two words: Betty White. Heart HealthYour heart is a muscle and therefore needs to be worked just like any other muscle in your body. The harder the heart works, the stronger it becomes. This leads to a lower resting heart rate, which means over time you can handle more work without as much effort; leaving you feeling more energized throughout the day. Maybe you can tackle that pesky basement project after all.
- Heart Health
Your heart is a muscle and therefore needs to be worked just like any other muscle in your body. The harder the heart works, the stronger it becomes. This leads to a lower resting heart rate, which means over time you can handle more work without as much effort; leaving you feeling more energized throughout the day. Maybe you can tackle that pesky basement project after all?
- Disease Prevention
Along with strengthening your heart, exercise helps to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity. By keeping your arteries free of plaque and cholesterol, your heart is able to perform optimally.
Would your vehicle run properly over time if you never took it in for an oil change? Probably not. Our bodies work much the same way, it’s important to keep them fine-tuned and in the best shape possible. You only have one life to live and one body to do it in – take care of it.
The exercise of an extraordinary gift is the supremest pleasure in life. – Mark Twain