Exercise: Much More than a Necessary Evil

By Margaret MacMillan

Dreamstime

Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart—Gene Tunny

 

Exercise. It’s easy to think of it as a four-letter word. But, of course, it isn’t. If we put it in the right perspective, exercise is a word that, when put into actual practice, benefits us. Rather than being a negative force in our lives, it should be a positive one.

The benefits of exercise are known to us all, but, just in case you’ve forgotten what they are, here are a few, according to the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

 

  • Weight control by burning as many calories through physical activity as you take in.

 

  • Reduction of the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, with moderate intensity aerobic exercise.

 

  • Reduction of the risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (any combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, or high blood sugar) through moderate intensity aerobic exercise. With this, the more you do, the lower the risks.

 

  • Reduction of the risk of colon and breast cancer with regular moderate physical activity.

 

  • Strengthening of bones and muscles with regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise and bone-strengthening and muscle-strengthening activity. This is especially important for menopausal women who tend to lose bone mass.

 

Now, who are we to argue with that? The truth of the matter is, regular moderate exercise is vital to our overall health. We’re not talking about CrossFit or power yoga; although these certainly are viable workouts if you want something more intense.  We’re talking about moderate intensity exercise, during which you break a sweat and increase your heart rate. And it becomes increasingly important as we age and our level of regular physical activity slows down.

 

Regular exercise, whether it’s taking brisk walks with the dog, running up and downstairs with the laundry, utilizing the treadmill or elliptical at home or at the gym, lifting light to medium weights, or doing daily aerobics helps with blood flow and circulation, regulating weight, building muscle, and improving bone density. Now that we’ve been reminded of the health benefits of exercise, it’s time to get up off the couch and put them into practice.

 

Here are a couple of videos you might like to take a look at to get you started:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSZj19AUU5I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=istOU9nxhm8

 

Reference:

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/

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