The Benefits of Exercise

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Two people running on promenade

By Monique Bartlett

Trying to lose weight is not that simple. There are many elements that interfere with your weight loss journey such as hormones, genetics, stress, lack of sleep, emotions and the list goes on.  What will keep you on the right track will depend on a deeper and greater purpose.  In order to reach your goal you need to understand that it takes work to reach your ideal weight.

Our ancestors walked a lot as they were hunters and gatherers. They also took part in many weight bearing activities such as carrying their hunted prey, children and climbing trees to get food.  Today however, we have a more sedentary lifestyle.  We drive everywhere, sit for hours at the computer, and watch too much TV and we don’t exercise as much as we should.

The good news is that even a single workout has health benefits. Just by increasing your muscle mass will help you burn more calories at rest which will help to increase your metabolism and create a healthy body.  Physical activity in the form of both weight bearing and strength training have been shown to increase bone density, posture, muscle strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and balance.

Exercise is a powerful tool to relieve and handle stress.  It release stress hormones and increases your ability to think more clearly. Exercise endorphins, or feel-good brain chemicals, are released following exercise, inducing a positive effect on mood and depression.  Blood pressure, waist size, resting heart rate and many other benefits all improve with regular exercise.

No matter what your exercise level you need to engage in regular exercise:

Your goal should be to walk or perform low level activity for at least 3 hours every week.   Consider biking, walking, gardening, hiking or swimming.  It doesn’t have to be in large chunks of time. Ten minute walks several times a day work just as well as 1 hour all at once.

Strength training 2 -3  times every week doing activities such as lifting weights, bodyweight exercises or activities such as yoga or pilates will all help to increase your lean muscle mass so you can burn more calories at rest. It won’t take too long to see results so get started today.

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