Exercise. It can improve your health on all levels. We’re not just talking about being fitter and stronger. We’re talking about overall health and longevity.
Regular exercise improves your heart health, brain health, muscle and bone health, diabetes, and arthritis. Beyond those, it also reduces stress, boosts moods, increases your energy, and can improve your sleep. And exercise prevents death from any cause (“all cause mortality”).
The benefits of exercise come from improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels. They come from moving your muscles (including your heart muscle) and pulling on your bones.
You don’t need to go overboard on exercise to get these amazing health results. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days/week is enough.
And you don’t have to do a particular kind of exercise. All four types of exercise have health benefits. They are:
Don't forget, all exercise counts, even if it's not doing a sport or in a gym. Weekend hikes, walking to the store and doing household chores also count towards your weekly exercise goal.
Let me take a minute to prove to you how healthy exercise really is. Here are a few key points.
Exercise for heart health
Exercise reduced cardiac mortality by 31% in middle aged men who previously had a heart attack.
Regular exercise reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure).
Exercise for brain health
Exercise can improve physical function and quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease. It also reduces changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercise improved mental functions by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is involved in learning and memory. It also increases the size of the part of the brain for memory and learning (the "hippocampus"); this was shown mostly with aerobic exercise.
Exercise for muscle and bone health
Regular physical activity can help maintain strong muscles and bones; this is particularly true for strength exercises. As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass and bone density. So, to prevent osteoporosis, exercise regularly.
PRO TIP: And don’t forget that balance exercises and Tai Chi can help prevent falls.
Exercise for diabetes
People with diabetes who exercise have better insulin sensitivity and HbA1C values (the marker of glycemic control).
Exercise does this because by contracting your muscles, you’re fueling them with sugar in your blood. This helps to manage blood sugar levels better than without exercise.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health benefits of exercise. By doing just 30 minutes 5 days/week, you can vastly improve your health. Since there are different benefits for different types, try mixing up what you do throughout the week. You don’t even need an “official” workout. Walking to the grocery store or doing household chores can count too.
If you’re just starting, then pick something you enjoy, get some accountability (exercise tracker or a buddy), and start.
What’s your favorite exercise and how often do you do it?
Nothing beats waking up in the morning with the natural motivation to go for a run. Let's face it, after a hard days work, sometimes you are just too tired and unmotivated to do something for yourself. Sometimes, just trying to get and stay motivated to run on a regular and consistent basis can be a challenge.
So, you may be wondering just how you can get the motivation you need to run on a regular basis. If you've been wondering what you can do to make exercising more fun, you'll find some ideas below that just may help to make running more fun and a little bit easier.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that it is important to find something you love. Find an exercise such as running that will keep you moving your body on a regular and consistent basis. After all The Complete Recipe to optimal health is to EAT, CONNECT and MOVE!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast Cancer is a serious disease and can be life-threatening. According to the American Cancer Society over 232,000 women will be diagnosed with new cases of invasive breast cancer this year. Women are not alone in developing this disease as it also affects men. The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that 2,200 men will also be diagnosed with new cases of breast cancer this year. Many elements contribute to increased risk of breast cancer such as family history, or genetic factors such as the carrying the BRCA-1 gene. There are many items that are within our control to reduce our risks.
What we choose to eat and how we prepare it can significantly reduce our risk of breast cancer by providing our bodies with necessary nutrients to reach and maintain a healthy weight and optimal health. Animal proteins, refined processed foods, artificial sweeteners, chemical additives found in processed foods have all shown to increase breast cancer risk. Therefore, a healthy diet consists of an eating pattern made up of predominately plant-based whole foods. That means choosing to eat leafy greens, juicy fruits, colorful vegetables, all varieties of beans and legumes, and fiber rich whole grains.
Alcohol consumption was shown to increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), reported that women who consume between three and six alcoholic beverages per week have an increased risk of breast cancer therefore, it may be in our best interest to limit or avoid alcohol all together.
When individuals are under stress they may indulge in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol or binge eating. In order to ward off these bad habits it is a good idea to reduce or manage stress. You can start by developing a healthy attitude. Plan adequate time to relax, meditate and breathe deeply. You can achieve measurable differences in just 10 minutes per day!
Regular exercise has several benefits. An analysis done by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reports that “researchers have found that physical activity – either mild or intense and before or after menopause – may reduce breast cancer risk, but substantial weight gain may negate these benefits.”
Current recommendations from the CDC states that adults should accumulate a minimum of 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days of the week. Look for opportunities to move more. Try to take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away in a parking lot or take a walk after dinner.
There is no guarantee. Making these small changes can significantly reduce your risk of developing this life-threatening disease. Do you want to learn more on how to make healthy lifestyle choices? I can help!
If you are experiencing symptoms of perimenopause or menopause it may be time to get moving every day. Women who raised their heart rate during exercise four or more times per week experienced less menopausal symptoms than those who did not. Promising studies also showed that alternative treatments such as mindfulness classes may also help. Reuters Full Story