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
- 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!