Exercise - an important building block for a healthy body and mind
Any health plan is incomplete without an exercise plan, exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight, building and maintaining healthy bone density, muscle strength, and joint mobility, promoting mental well-being, reducing surgical risks, and strengthening the immune system.
Experts recommend that you do some form of aerobic exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 continuous minutes. Of course, if that is too much, start with a shorter time span and gradually build up to the minimum. Then gradually progress until you are able to work aerobically for 20-40 minute. A daily brisk walk is a popular form of aerobic exercise.
Because of our modern lifestyles most of us are getting very little or no exercise what so ever, by including some activities in our day to day routines we can start burning calories, improve blood circulation, have better mental health and the list goes on.
Daily activities you can easily include for an active lifestyle:
- Gardening on weekends
- Walk to nearby appointments instead of driving
- Take the steps instead of the elevator
- Take the furthest parking, not the nearest
- Look for opportunities to bend, stretch and lift
Aerobic exercise is performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. For example, running a long distance at a moderate pace is an aerobic exercise, but sprinting is not. Playing singles tennis, with near-continuous motion, is generally considered aerobic activity, while golf or two person team tennis, with brief bursts of activity punctuated by more frequent breaks, may not be predominantly aerobic. Some sports are thus inherently "aerobic", while other aerobic exercises, such aerobic dance classes, are designed specifically to improve aerobic capacity and fitness.
Among the recognized benefits of doing regular aerobic exercise are:
- Strengthening the muscles involved in respiration, to facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs
- Strengthening and enlarging the heart muscle, to improve its pumping efficiency and reduce the resting heart rate, known as aerobic conditioning
- Strengthening muscles throughout the body
- Improving circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure
- Increasing the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen
- Improved mental health, including reducing stress and lowering the incidence of depression
- Reducing the risk for diabetes
- Burns body fat, while building leaner muscle
How much or how little exercise you do depends on your current health and your health goals. Be realistic in your approach, if you are very unfit do not try to break records on your first day - easy into it.
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