I’m hearing lots of cries for help these days from people wanting to turn around the “Quarantine 15” that they put on during the shelter at home time these last few months.
All those days of heightened anxiety, comfort foods to ease it, staying so close to home, and not moving enough made any kind of weight maintenance a difficult thing.
Losing that extra weight is largely a matter of eating diet of good wholesome foods, and then burning more calories that you’ve consumed.
So, let’s talk about exercise – how we burn calories — back to the basics – the “why” of exercise.
The “why” is that exercise may actually the closest thing to the fountain of youth that we know.
Done regularly, exercise strengthens your muscles and improves your heart and lung function. It can reduce your risk of major diseases, including pandemic viruses like our current Covid-19 pest. Furthermore, exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells, and can even add years to your life, as well as life to your years.
Numerous studies in recent years show that just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days may do the following.
– Keep you young. 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.
– Reduce infections. Moderate workouts temporarily rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness or capacity of immune cells That may explain why people who exercise catch fewer colds. For more on a strong immune system, click here.
– Prevent heart attacks. Cardiovascular disorders continue to bee the leading cause of death in th developed world, and for more than 100 years has caused more deaths in Americans than any other major cause. Not only does exercise raise “good” HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, recent research shows that it reduces arterial inflammation, another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
– Ease asthma. Most people with controlled asthma will benefit from regular exercise, and it may help to reduce the need for inhalers, making it easier to participate in normal daily activities, recreational events, and competitive sports.
– 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 significantly cut 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.
-Relieve hot flashes. Increasing fitness by walking or practicing yoga enhances mood and reduce some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
-Protect men’s health. Pelvic exercises help prevent erectile dysfunction and possibly benign prostate enlargement, a con cause of urinary problems.
– Prolong life. Studies lasting many years have consistently shown that being active cuts the risk of premature death by about 50% for both men and women.
In the good old days, before we had so many conveniences, times savers, and sedentary ways of doing almost everything, we didn’t have to prescribe our exercise. Our lives were themselves exercise, just getting from one end of the day to the other.
This is not so any more. We have to set aside time to exercise, or it may not happen. So do that – schedule your exercise. Put it on your calendar every day so that it has a designated time, and then…..just do it! You’ll feel better, for sure, and your body will thank you with better health, greater vigor, and a new zest for life.
In my next newsletter/blog I will talk about some of the unique benefits of weight training.