The other day a friend learned my age and said, “No way. I thought you were in your forties.” Now it’s great for a bald man to get this kind of notice, but it’s only because I own dogs and they have to walk everyday. So that means I do too. I also lived in 3rd world, poor countries for decades which means I ate natural foods. Processed foods were luxuries we usually couldn’t afford or even find. I am grateful for my health and vitality. Of course, that diagnosis of heart disease in 2005 had a lot to do with it. It propelled me into a new and better healthy lifestyle. It’s all about what you do with your food and your feet.
Before I share the ten most recognized benefits of exercise, some common sense prelude:
1. Do what you love. In the realm of exercise this is most important. Programs of exercise come and go, but the ones you will stick to are the ones you really enjoy. So get out there and try some different things to see what it is you love. Who would’ve guessed that after 7 years I would still be attending my weekly yoga class?
2. Don’t overdo it. Nothing worse for adherence to an exercise program than an injury that takes you out of the game. Use your own judgement and do what’s right for you. My lifelong motto, “Everything in moderation.” You can leave the super hero stuff for super heroes. Now, if you have a calling to be a top athlete, excellent. More power to you. For the 99%, stay safe.
3. Lastly, be an accountability partner for someone else and let someone else be an accountability partner for you. You won’t know how powerful it is, how beneficial it is until you try it. It’s exponential in effect.
4. The most often heard excuse is “I don’t have time.” If you work in an office, may I show you how to get a workout in before lunch, without leaving your office chair? Abe Exercise
Exercise may be the closest thing to the fountain of youth. Not only does regular activity strengthen your muscles and improve heart and lung function, but it can also reduce your risk of major diseases, stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and even add years to your life. Studies show just 30 minutes of physical activity on most days is all that’s required to reap big benefits.
The range of health bonuses now attributed to exercise has surprised even doctors. Research suggests that workouts may do the following:
1. Keep 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 to 20 years off your age. Aerobic exercise may also stimulate the growth of new brain cells in older adults.
2. 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.
3. Prevent heart attacks. Not only does exercise raise “good” HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure, but new research shows it reduces arterial inflammation, another risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
4. Ease asthma. New evidence shows that upper-body and breathing exercises can reduce the need to use an inhaler in mild cases of asthma.
5. Control blood sugar. Exercise helps to 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 (adult onset) type 2 diabetes.
6. 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.
7. Combat stress. Regular aerobic exercise lowers levels of stress hormones. For many people, exercise helps relieve depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
8. Relieve hot flashes. Increasing fitness by walking or practicing yoga enhances mood and reduces some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
9. Protect men’s health. Pelvic exercises help prevent erectile dysfunction and possibly benign prostate enlargement, a common cause of urinary problems.
10. Prolong life. Studies lasting many years have consistently shown that being active cuts the risk of premature death by about 50 percent for men and women.