Many people lose sight of the ultimate purpose of exercise, which is to improve overall health and fitness. They become lost in the mindless patterns of the gym and habitually grind out set after set in strainful workouts. While it's important to build strength and increase muscle tone, that is simply not enough.... A human body is meant for all kinds of movements, with overall performance measured in more than just pounds lifted or miles traveled.
What does it mean to be really fit? For me, I wanted to be more than just strong. I wanted to be agile, flexible, coordinated, and to have good balance-qualities of movement I associate with my youth when I was dancing and playing sports.
Yogilates: Integrating Yoga and Pilates for Complete Fitness, Strength, and Flexibility, "Introduction," 2002
Oh no, it's the dreaded "E Word "! The quote above beautifully sums up the way I feel about fitness and I have to admit that the thought of "working out" in a gym has never been appealing to me and therefore I don't do it. However, since I have reached middle age, I notice that my winter weight is "hanging around" a little longer than I would like.
My winter exercise regime consists of yoga, walking whenever possible, dancing, weekly POD sessions and recently, Pilates. Additionally (at my son's suggestion) I recently began doing situps, leg lifts and push ups. In an endeavor to increase my activity I always park my car in the far corner of the parking lot and take the stairs with what ever I am lugging around that day.
As a child I was always active, always outside playing. In high school I was in the marching band and as a Freshman I played varsity tennis and lacrosse. I was
nick-named "hat trick" because when I scored in Lacrosse it was in increments of three. I was very fast and very strong. I don't tell you this to brag ( well maybe a little) but more to make a point.
I like to play and use my body; that's how I get my exercise...in the nice weather. Once the warm weather hits I will walk four times a week for a half hour carrying 5 lb hand weights and doing arm exercises. On the days I don't walk I ride my bike. I also work hard in the yard, digging holes for plants, carrying bags of top soil, pushing wheel barrows... etc. When we have the grandsons for the weekend we will spend all day outside playing baseball, hockey, basketball. You get the picture.
The thought of joining a gym is somewhat daunting to me. But losing my strength
(last week I had trouble opening up a jar) and muscle mass as well as putting on weight is more alarming. I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to join a gym.
Not being one to put things off, I made the decision and joined a gym in my area on a Tuesday. On Thursday of the same week I cancelled my membership thinking that I may have jumped into it too fast; I was experiencing tremendous buyer's remorse. Gym memberships are expensive and most require a one year commitment. With the nice weather right around the corner I will not want to be in a ugly, smelly gym. Come the fall, I"ll look for a better bargain and a facility that is a little more
Once you find what works for you, and and get into a rhythm, exercise will be like second nature and your body will thank you for it. Read on to learn all the benefits of exercising.
The best exercise is the one that you'll do!
The Benefits of Exercise
A balanced diet is essential for a happy and healthy life, but without regular exercise no amount of kale or kidney beans will make up for a lack of locomotion. Just like certain foods protect us from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, regular physical activity has its own list of health enhancements. Without exercise, it's hard to reach your full physical and mental potential and achieve overall well-being.
- Controls weight
- Lowers blood pressure
- Enhances quality of sleep
- Delays loss of muscle mass and strength
- Improves balance and coordination
- Improves flexibility
- Improves digestion transit
- Reduces osteoporosis
- Reduces joint stress and back pain
- Decreases incidence of heart disease
- Reduces existing myocardial damage (It's never too late to start exercising)
- Decreases inflammation
- Improves immune function
- Decreases liver disease
- Improves insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- Increases energy and reduces risk of depression, anxiety and stress
- Improves cognitive function
|Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Keeps 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 10-20 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.
- Prevent heart attacks- Not only does exercise raise HDL ( good) cholesterol and lower blood pressure, but new research shows it reduces arterial inflammation, another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
- Ease asthma- New evidence shows that upper body and breathing exercises can reduce the need to use an inhaler in mild cases of asthma.
- 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 reduces 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 common cause of urinary problems.
- Prolong life- Studies lasting many years have consistently shown that being active cuts the risk or premature death by about 50 percent for men and women.
Adapted from Consumers Reports, September 2007.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition Handout
When it comes to exercise it's important to keep it in mind how much and which types will benefit you the most. Some people do better with more gentle, centering exercises, while others require vigorous activity. Experiment with walking, running, biking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, dancing, and simple strength exercises like planks and squats- your options are endless. When you find what works for you, you'll be more likely to do it consistently and reap the benefits, including increased energy, improved mental clarity, optimal digestive health, and enhanced mood.
Exercise also produces the "feel good" hormone serotonin, which has an uplifting effect on your entire body. Discover what you love and stick with it.
So what's the secret to a successful and consistent exercise routine? Accountability! Whether you rely on a friend, family member, trainer or simply your own willpower to keep you in check, having a goal system to track your progress is crucial. Keep note of your exercises, and check in with yourself once a week. Don't forget to honor yourself for your great work with a massage, a long walk, or watching your favorite TV show without guilt.
Acknowledge all the types of exercises you do. Don't feel like yoga is a workout? Your body says differently. Feel like you need to run 10 miles to make it count? Actually after less than a mile your endorphins are already soaring.
As an aside, in my last newsletter I mentioned Sweet Wheat by Britecore and I had some questions about it, so here is short summary.
Wheat grass juice provides an extraordinary balance of all the nutrients vital to good health and well-being. Throughout all of recorded history, wheat has been the king of grain foods, the "staff of life". Wheat grass juice, made from, the young grass stage of the wheat plant, has an extremely high nutrient concentration that cannot be found in the mature wheat plant, making wheat grass juice a super food, as it contains no gluten at this dark green, leafy vegetable stage of growth.
Sweet Wheat is available at TDI/Health through Awareness
Many thanks to Ben Briggs for offering his expertise in a very informative webinar on Thyroid Dysfunction and Adrenal Fatigque and thank you to everyone who joined us for our March Webinar. For those of you that might have missed it or want to view it again click on the link below and scroll to the bottom of that page for archives.
Join us for an hour with Elsie Kerns on What do we want more of every day? Less stress and more Energy, Energy, Energy! What stops free flow energy? Anxiety, overwhelm, worry, tension, the voice of inner judgment and the demands of 24/7 living.
Wednesday, April 22 from 7-8 p.m.
Ongoing stress results include compromised immune system, high blood pressure, chronic illness and accelerated aging!
On this webinar, learn how to:
- Strengthen your immune system
- Melt tension and anxiety easy
- Regain clear thinking for everyday problem solving
- Blow out frustration and Zip-It-Up to protect your energy every day.
The webinar will discuss how, on a daily basis, energy is the patient and energy is also the healer! Let Elsie teach you easy energy techniques available that you can begin using immediately. No previous experience is necessary- just your enthusiasm and desire for optimal health and wellness!
Elsie Kerns,is an Eden Energy Medicine Advanced Practitioner, stress specialist, teacher, speaker and author. She has a passion for empowering effective, time efficient and affordable energy practices for vibrant health and longevity. She offers private sessions, educational workshops, teleseminars and work site wellness. Elsie is also a co founder of "Wellness Workers", successfully serving the tri-state community since 1995.
Click here to register
Next months webinar guest speaker will be Ann McCloud Sneath, CNP. Ann will be discussing "Women's Hormones and the Environment" . She will explain the relationship between environmental hormone disruptors (such as plastic, pesticides, and consumer products) and hormones naturally produced by the ovaries as well as
bio-identical hormones from a compounding pharmacy. This discussion will focus on the impact of environmental hormones or breast, ovaries, and weight in every age group of women.
If you have missed any of our newsletters don't forget they are all archived!
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is this newsletter is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The contents of this newsletter are based upon the opinions and research of Liesha Getson and Health through Awareness, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information in this newsletter is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Liesha Getson and Health through Awareness. You are encouraged to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Liesha Getson, BCTT, HHC
100 Brick Road, Suite 206
Marlton, NJ 08053