March 19th, 2019 – Benefits of Exercise Beyond Weight Loss

 

While we are all aware that exercise increases weight loss, there are many other benefits to becoming more active.

Improving our body’s structure:

  • Retaining our muscles and bones is crucial to helping us to stay healthy as we age
  • Women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 are at a much higher risk for osteoporosis resulting in increases in fractures
  • We reach our peak bone mass at age 30. Beyond that, our rate of new bone formation slows and we are losing bone mass faster than we retain it
  • It is crucial for bones to be “stressed” through weight bearing exercises to retain mass. It is also important for your body to take in enough calcium to keep bones strong
  • The fractures most commonly seen as you age are hips, spines, and wrists
  • Our muscles are made of protein, so protein intake becomes increasingly important as we age to prevent injury and maintain balance. Remember: your heart is a muscle

Exercise helps maintain flexibility:

  • If you are more flexible, you will have better balance. This helps to prevent injury, particularly as you age
  • Stretching exercises help a great deal with improving flexibility – especially things like yoga.

Exercise helps to decrease disease:

  • Helps to keep blood sugar levels lower, preventing diabetes
  • Decreases blood pressure and heart disease

Improves mental health and energy:

  • 1 in 5 adults have anxiety and/or depression. Those who exercise have 45% less anxiety and depression than those who are sedentary
  • You need 150 minutes a week of moderate activity to reduce health disorders
  • Between 30 and 60 minutes of exercises are required for the release of “endorphins” which are hormones released by the brain that make you feel happy and reduce pain

Additional Tips:

  • You need to exercise at a level that is “a little uncomfortable” for you. You need to keep track of your exercise so as you are able, you can increase it a little every week. Over time you will be able to look back and see how much you’ve improved.
  • People tend to push themselves more when they participate in a class or team
  • Increased strength and energy help you as you perform you daily activities of living
  • Improves the quality and duration of sleep
  • The most effective exercise program is one where you combine cardio and strength training.
  • You need the cardio training for endurance – need to get your heart rate up to release the endorphins
  • Strength or weight training can be done with fitness resistance bands instead of weights (Kim got hers at Target and there are also lots on Amazon)
  • High Intensity Interval Training done once a week is the best type of exercise for anti-aging and longevity

Remember any kind of exercise is better than not doing anything!