Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Many Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is one of the best kept secrets for lifting your mood, keeping your heart strong and healthy, helping your body look fit and trim – even improving your sex life. Don’t underestimate the power of exercise to pump new energy into just about every area of your life.

Combined with good nutrition and hormone optimization, exercise is a cornerstone of the Southwest Age Intervention Institute program for health and wellness.

The best fitness plan will incorporate resistance training with weights to build lean muscle, aerobic exercise to increase heart rate and stretching to improve flexibility and range of motion. Incorporating these types of exercises into your weekly schedule is a proactive way to ensure you remain healthy, vital and sharp at any age. It is one of the best investments you will ever make in your future.

Value Added Benefits

A sedentary lifestyle that ignores the body’s need for exercise is a contributing factor in so many problems associated with aging. A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine noted that “physical inactivity is one of the strongest predictors of premature aging in adults.”

The old adage, “use it or lose it” is true when it comes to muscle strength. Without some form of exercise, muscle strength can quickly diminish, perhaps even by one half to one pound of muscle mass per year as we grow older.

In addition, a sedentary lifestyle raises the risk for numerous chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis. It also can have a negative impact on your brain power, diminishing your cognitive abilities related to memory, focus, concentration and overall ability to think and reason.

On the other hand, a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise three to four times a week can increase your metabolism, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones, muscles and connective tissue, and prevent stiff joints and many aches and pains associated with growing older. Building core strength helps with posture and balance to reduce your risk of falling.

Don’t forget the correlation between exercise and a greater sense of well being.  The positive effect of exercise on mood is well-known among athletes. The euphoria or “runners high” many people experience after a vigorous workout is due to the flood of neurotransmitters and endorphins that the body releases. These hormones help reduce stress levels, allowing you to feel better and more able to cope with day-to-day challenges. If you’re having problems with insomnia, exercise during the day is often recommended as a good way to promote better sleep.

In addition, a long-term commitment to exercise will help your body look and feel better, which enhances confidence and self-esteem.

Let’s look at the different forms of exercise and their specific health benefits:

Cardiovascular exercise is any aerobic activity that increases heart rate for a sustained period of time.  This type of exercise, which includes walking, bicycling, swimming, running, tennis, skiing, rowing and dance, strengthens the heart and the lungs to reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Vigorous exercise allows the heart to become stronger and more efficient at pumping blood and oxygen through the body, which can reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and keep the resting heart rate low. It can also increase your endurance so you tire less easily, including being less “winded” climbing stairs or performing similar activities.

Cardiovascular exercise can also increase your metabolism and help your body burn stored fat, which aids in maintaining a healthy weight.

Resistance training strengthens muscles, bones, connective tissue and joints through the use of any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance. This can include weight lifting with free weights or the use of weight machines, as well as push ups, squats, chin ups or other form of exercise where you are working against your body weight.

The benefits of resistance training are extensive, from increasing your metabolism, building lean muscle and reducing overall body fat to remodeling and sculpting the body with greater tone and definition. Weight training is considered one of the best ways to lose weight and take off inches from the thighs, waist and abdomen. It can also build bone mineral density to guard against osteoporosis.

Flexibility training incorporates stretching exercises into your fitness regimen. Why bother to stretch? These exercises can improve blood flow to the muscles, increase your range of motion, reduce risk of low back pain and improve your posture. As we age our flexibility can diminish, so stretching regularly is essential to reduce the risk for a number of health problems, even something as simple as preventing the general aches and pains and stiffness many people feel as older adults. Yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and simple stretching exercises on the floor are all beneficial.

Exercising has a positive impact on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we will develop a plan that is best suited to meet your overall health and fitness goals. Give us a call today to schedule your private executive health evaluation with our age management team of specialists. Learn how our age management program, complete with the best exercise regimen designed for you, will help you live your best life today and for the rest of your life.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! Thanks for sharing such creative and good post. I am impressed with the research you made to make this article awesome. Exercise is an important process to prevent diseases and illnesses while we aged. Exercise not only keeps you lean and trim but also keeps your immune system in good shape.
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