THE BENEFITS OF WALKING
“Of all exercises walking is the best.”
Walking and running offer numerous benefits, ranging from increased physical fitness to an enhanced sense of well-being. Because both walking and running can help you develop physical strength, ward off disease and enhance wellness, which option is preferable often comes down to individual preference and fitness level. For example, if you can run for only very short distances, walking might be better because you might be more inclined to participate more frequently and for longer amounts of time. Examining some of the positive results associated with both exercises – or a combination of walking and running – can help you determine which exercise makes sense for your lifestyle.
Good for beginners – If you are new to the world of exercising, walking is the best form. You will not feel the pain of working out, yet lose weight. But do not expect a drastic weight-loss, because walking doesn’t ensure you that.
Improves muscle endurance – Walking is good for your muscles especially because when you are walking, all the muscles in your body contract. You might feel a little pain when you start off because your body is not in the habit of exercising, but keeping up with it will definitely give you results.
Good for cardiovascular health – Those endless hours spent at the gym will drain you for sure, thus if you are looking at an exercise that will take care of your cardiovascular health, walking is ideal.
Brisk walking is considered to be the best form as opposed to walking at a normal pace. However, if your knees don’t permit you to walk fast, walking at a good pace will surely give you the much desired benefits.
Tones your butt and thighs – The ideal way to tone your butts and thighs is by walking as fast as you can. Walking fast will tone your glute muscles. However, if you set a comfortable pace, you will not feel the pressure. Speed up slightly each time you hit a low. During your walks, remember to squeeze your butt to a count of ten.
Increases supply of oxygen to your body – If you have been feeling breathless or have breathing issues, walking should be your motto. Though other forms of exercise also help increase the flow of oxygen in your system, walking does it better. This is because you are out in the fresh air, helps your lungs function smoothly.
Power walking for weight loss – For weight loss, indulge in power walking. This is a fast-paced walk, which burns the same amount of calories while you are running or jogging. For this, you need to keep a brisk pace at moderate or high intensity.
Does not lead to injury – Since this is a low-impact workout, walking does not pose the same risk of injury as opposed to working out in the gym or running. People of all age groups can walk –in fact; it helps in tissue-cleansing for those in their 50s and above. Walking is also better for the spine than running and it puts less stress on your disc.
What you need to have – A pair of good walking shoes: A pair of good walking shoes is required before you step out. Look out for a low and supportive heel that will help you walk better. Also, choose a shoe that fits properly and be sure that your toe has enough room in the toe box. Loose walking gear: As much important as it is to have a comfortable pair of shoes, the right walking gear is crucial. Wear loose, relaxed clothes that will leave enough room for air to circulate while you are walking.
How much should you be walking? Most people, at times don’t know how much time they should invest in walking and end up either walking too much or too less, thus not reaping any results. According to fitness experts, one should walk for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, if not more.
Walking for different age groups teens and 20s – Since this is the time you can exert yourself the most, an hour-and-a-half of walking will give you the desired results.
Make sure that you are wearing a comfortable pair of walking shoes that will help you walk at a fast pace. Merge your walking with running or jogging in between. People in this age are prone to other habits like high alcohol intake, smoking, low vitamin D and calcium intake, and prolonged inactivity, which can all reduce bone density .
30s AND 40s – This is the time when you need to concentrate on the pace of your walking.
Brisk walk but make sure that you take ample amount of rest in between. Start by walking at a slow pace and then slowly pick up speed. Again slow down for a few minutes and then fasten up again.
An hour of walking should give you the desired results. This is the time when women cope with motherhood and people reach the peak of their career. So walking as a form of exercise is the best.
50s and above – Bone mineral density falls with age. So you need to make sure that you are walking as much as possible so that your joints do not get stiff. Don’t walk for more than half an hour. Make sure that you walk at a comfortable pace and don’t exert yourself too much. Walking in short intervals will also benefit you. If you don’t get tired too easily, try jogging in between your walks. This will increase your metabolism and keep you fit.
Walking as an exercise nourishes the spinal structures and facilitates strong circulation, pumping nutrients into soft tissues and draining toxins. It also increases flexibility and posture -walking along with regular stretching allows greater range of motion, helps prevent awkward movements and susceptibility of future injury.”
The American Heart Association states that walking can reduce the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. It can also alleviate high blood pressure and improve blood sugar levels. Taking a brisk walk every day can contribute to your overall fitness by burning calories, improving muscle strength and tone and working your cardiovascular system. Wellness can be positively affected, since walking releases endorphins that improve your mood and helps increase concentration levels. Because of its low impact, walking is one of the safest forms of physical activity, according to the American Association of Retired Persons, and it may also contribute to helping reduce abdominal fat.
It seems we’ve all been a bit misled during the fitness craze that’s accompanied the baby boom generation into believing that something enjoyable can’t possibly be beneficial. But the facts don’t support that view. There is ample evidence that walking has a multitude of benefits.
Studies show that walking can: (1) Reduce risk of coronary heart disease and stroke; (2) Reduce high cholesterol; (3) Lower blood pressure; (4) Reduce risk of colon cancer; (5) Reduce body fat; (6) Help control body weight; (7) Increase bone density and help prevent osteoporosis; (8) Help with osteoarthritis; (9) Reduce risk of non-insulin dependent diabetes; (9) Help with overall flexibility; and (10) Increase mental well-being.
Regular participation in physical activity is associated with reduced mortality rates. (US Dept. of Health 1996). In particular, studies have shown that: (a) Fit and active people have approximately half the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to unfit people; (b) Because the bones are strengthened, fit people are less likely to fall and suffer injuries such as hip fractures; (c) Fit people are less likely to sustain injury because joints have a better range of movement and muscles are more flexible; (d) Fit people are less prone to depression and anxiety; (e) Fit people tend to sleep better; and (f) Fit people have better control of body weight.
So in a nutshell, you can increase your chances of living longer by the simple act of walking at least 30 minutes per day. Walking should be an aerobic exercise. Aerobic means that exercise is carried out at a comfortable pace to ensure that the muscles have sufficient oxygen available. If you are gasping for breath, you are doing anaerobic exercise. Regular aerobic exercise done three times a week for 30 minutes or more will result in increased levels of fitness and aerobic capacity.
An interesting study done at Loughbrough University came up with some very interesting results. The researchers found that walking continuously for 30 minutes 5 days a week provided nearly identical increases in fitness as splitting 30 minutes into three 10-minute walks. More surprising was the finding that the short walkers lost more weight and reported greater decreases in waist circumference than the long walkers! All of this research seems to point to the fact that getting fit is really very simple and doesn’t require any sort of complicated exercise regimen. Just get out there and walk every day in whatever manner you can manage and you will reap the benefits of walking!
In theory, losing weight is easy. All you have to do is expend more calories than you take in and you will lose weight. In practice, losing weight is difficult. For many the cycle of dieting, losing weight and eventually gaining it back is all too familiar. There are literally thousands of diets to choose from, all of which claim to be THE way to lose weight. You may have tried a few yourself with mixed results.
The problem with diets is that they only focus on half the equation. Of course it’s important to pay attention to what you eat, but this is important for everyone, not just those trying to lose weight. Dieting alone, especially fad diets that contradict common sense and centuries of human nutritional history, will rarely work in the long term. Good diet must be combined with exercise to really be of any value. And walking is the perfect exercise for those wishing to lose weight.
Another benefit of walking is that walking alters your body’s fat metabolism so that fat is burned up instead of sugars. This will help you lose weight. The bottom line if you want to lose weight is: start walking today and walk every day and you WILL lose weight – guaranteed!
Walking affects not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. It has been shown to improve self-esteem, ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improve mood. A gentle walk in the fresh air and sunshine is relaxing and it makes you feel good. What else could
you ask for?
Most recent studies of young people indicate declining participation in physical activity. Only half of 11-16 year olds currently walk for ten minutes a day. Children generally walk much less than they did a decade ago. Childhood obesity is becoming a major health concern in western countries. TV, computers, and video games account for part of the change, but increased parental fear for children’s safety out of doors also plays a large part.
So how do you get children walking? An excellent approach is to make walking part of a fun activity – make the walk a means to an end. If children know that a playground, a swim, or a treat awaits them at the end of a walk, they are more likely to feel positive about it.
It’s important to get children into the habit of walking at an early age. The best way to get them walking is to integrate walking into their lifestyles. For example, rather than driving the kids to school, why not walk them to school? This may be impractical, but even if you can walk once or twice a week or even walk part way and drive the rest, the benefits to your children (and you) will be enormous. Make walking a priority and you and your children will both benefit.
EATING HEALTHY AND EXERCISE
Is it possible to have healthy eating habits and a good exercise plan? Do exercise and eating healthy go hand in hand?
Regular exercise and the consumption of a healthy diet can lead to a host of benefits, including increased energy, happiness, health and even a long life. Exercise and diet are pivotal to determining a person’s overall health, and making them both part of your lifestyle can make a dramatic difference in how you look and feel.
Build one or more favorite types of exercise into your life, gradually. Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise every day.
Walking is great, because it’s easy to fit into your day. Leave the car behind sometimes or even get off the bus a stop or two early. Walk to the store, don’t drive – but make it brisk enough so that you feel slightly breathless – ambling along won’t cut it. If you can cover 2 miles a day, you’ll be doing great. Or get a pedometer and keep it strapped on. You’re aiming for 10,000 steps, which should include a burst of 4-6000 fast steps.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a healthy diet should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. On top of eating well, you must also minimize your consumption of cholesterol, sodium, sugar and saturated fat. In conjunction with regular exercise, a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.
If you’re overweight, eating healthfully and exercising regularly can help you lose weight safely and keep it off. If you don’t have a weight problem, physical activity and a healthy diet can help you maintain your current weight and reduce your risk of gaining weight as you age. Healthy foods are generally lower in calories and higher in nutrients than other foods, and regular physical activity burns off extra calories to keep a healthy physique.
Try eating oat-based cereal for breakfast, before you walk, to give you slow-burning energy. Not sure how much weight you need to lose? Use the BMI Calculator to find out.
If jogging or running appeals to you, get into training gradually. You can harm yourself, if you go from no exercise to big, strenuous exercise, without working up to it.
Check out your local gym. Is there a running or jogging group you could join? Or do you have a friend or family member who’d like to share your quest for fitness? Exercise is much more fun with company. You’ll also need the right kit – get some proper trainers to support your ankles and protect your feet from impact, and some comfortable running clothes.
Drink water both before and after you exercise. Take a bottle of water with you on your run and drink at least 200 ml/1 cup water for every 15 minutes of exercise. Drink before you feel thirsty – don’t wait for a raging thirst before you have more water. Drinking water can help with weight loss.
Another really pleasurable form of exercise provided you have somewhere safe to cycle. Pedaling in city traffic isn’t such fun, but if there’s a nearby park or cycle way, get on your bike and explore.
Have a meal of pasta or rice before a bike ride, but don’t eat in the hour before you go out. Choose food that’s low in fat, and avoid very sugary foods. If you’re going on a long or very strenuous ride, take food with you to top up your energy – try bananas or other fresh fruit, or energy bars.
Going to the gym is a great way to exercise, but if you’ve tried it, you’ll know how hard it is to carry on going. To make it easier to stick with your gym routine: (1) Get some inspiration from the book Melt the Fat – I have found that it’s packed with helpful tips as well as exercise routines and healthy eating plans; (2) Go with a friend, and compete against each other on the equipment. Set goals, and keep a record of your progress. If possible, ask a personal trainer at the gym to set the goals with you, then you can report back every 3-4 weeks to measure your improvement; (3) find a good time to visit the gym and write it into your diary. Make it as much part of your routine as going to work or school; (4) Say ‘when I go to the gym, I’ll.’, not ‘If I go to the gym’. Success lies in your attitude! (5) Alter your gym routine to make it more interesting. One week use the bikes, next week the treadmills. Add some weights and stretches to your workout (this I have found to be particularly helpful); and (6) Find a class or group that you can join to add variety to your gym routine. Try aerobics, dance, circuit training, jogging, and badminton. These activities are as useful as ab crunches if you’re wondering how to lose the belly fat.
Have a piece of fresh fruit or a wholegrain snack before you go to the gym if you wish. It’s very easy to succumb to junk-bingeing after a workout, so be prepared. A banana and a glass of skimmed milk is a good quick snack if you can’t eat a meal straight away.
Try cooking double portions of healthy meals, so that you have a ready-made dish you can heat and eat as soon as you get back. Include complex carbs – that is wholegrain pasta, brown rice, potatoes or whole-meal bread, and some protein.
Add simple exercises into your daily routine at home. If you have a flight of stairs, you can use some stair exercises to improve your strength, power, balance and co-ordination. How? Simply walk up the stairs without holding the handrail. Walk back down, and repeat 10 times. If you think it’s too easy, try walking faster, until eventually you can run up those stairs. Walk back down to make sure you don’t trip. Make stair exercise even more effective by walking up two steps at a time. When that feels too easy, strap on some wrist and ankle weights to make it more intense.
If you’re combining eating healthy and exercise to lose weight, look at ways of making your favorite recipes healthier, so that you can still enjoy the foods you like best.
I have learned that a combination of working out and eating healthy foods can boost your energy level and help you feel more alert and aware, both mentally and physically. Healthy foods give your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to function at its best.
Exercise stimulates brain chemicals that help produce feelings of happiness, contentment and relaxation, so you’ll feel better if you work out on a regular basis. Physical activity can also boost your physical appearance as you burn fat and build muscle, which is a significant factor in boosting self-confidence and inspiring a satisfied life.
Exercise and healthy eating can help make your life more diverse and interesting. Seek creative ways to be physically active in your daily life and don’t to stick with the same exercise routine all the time. Exercise with co-workers, go dancing with friends, play on a sports team and spend active time with your kids and family members. Following a healthy diet can also bring up opportunities for home cooking, culinary classes, farmers’ market visits and more fun activities.
KIDS AND EXERCISE
Should children get more exercise? It is necessary? With more and more children electing to play video games, watching far too much television and using other viral medium, it is more important than ever for them to have proper nutrition as well as do more exercise to help curb the tide of childhood obesity that is so prevalent today.
When most adults think about exercise, they imagine working out in the gym on a treadmill or lifting weights. But for kids, exercise means playing and being physically active. Kids exercise when they have gym class at school, during recess, at dance class or soccer practice, while riding bikes, or when playing tag. They need to do more away from school or other outside activities. These days, far too many children in the United States aren’t doing as well on fitness tests as children did in the past. Why is that? They would rather veg in front the TV, play video games or other less active things. This leads to a growing number of children that are showing signs of diabetes, heart disease and other types of health problems all of which can be linked to a lack of exercise.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture emphasizes that fitness matches good nutrition as an important factor for kids’ growth and development. Research has shown that kids who don’t exercise grow into adults with higher risks for heart disease and diabetes. The American Diabetes Association warns that a surprisingly large number of kids now develop Type II diabetes. The disease was once almost unknown in young people.
There are so many benefits of regular exercise. Regular exercise can help reduce a child’s risk for Type II diabetes. Fitness also helps kids to control blood pressure, develop muscle and bone strength, and improve heart function. Girls who exercise may reduce their risk for osteoporosis later in life. In addition, kids who begin to exercise generally see improvements in concentration, memory and classroom behavior.
Parents and guardians may assume that kids naturally get enough exercise. Some parents believe that school gym programs provide kids with enough fitness opportunities. This is such a misconception. When in reality, budget cuts at schools, shifting priorities and time considerations mean that most schools do not provide kids with the minimum recommended amount of daily physical activity. At home, TV and video games have replaced sports and games for many kids. The average high school student watches at least 4 hours of TV every day. Honestly, this is not a good idea.
According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, children and teens need at least 60 minutes of activity every day. The hour can be broken into smaller sections to fit busy schedules. According to the council, less than one-fourth of high school students get the minimum amount of exercise.
Local parks, community centers and YMCAs often offer physical activities for kids. These programs provide a structured, safe environment for kids to exercise. They also allow parents an easy means to ensure that their children spend enough time on physical activities each day. The benefits of exercising when young can include a lifetime commitment to fitness. Let children choose sports or activities they enjoy and will continue. Kids are more likely to exercise when they see adults around them do the same. Good role models make a huge difference.
I feel that there are many benefits for everyone from regular exercise. Kids who are active will: (1) have stronger muscles and bones; (2) have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat; (3) be less likely to become overweight; (4) decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes; (5) possibly lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels; and (6) have a better outlook on life. Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.
If you’ve ever watched kids on a playground, you’ve seen the three elements of fitness in action when they: (1) run away from the kid who’s “it” (endurance); (2) cross the monkey bars (strength); and (3) bend down to tie their shoes (flexibility).
All parents should encourage their kids to do a variety of activities so that they can work on all three elements. Endurance is developed when kids regularly engage in aerobic activity. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster and a person breathes harder. When done regularly and for extended periods of time, aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.
Aerobic exercise can be fun for both adults and kids. Examples of aerobic activities include: (a) basketball; (b) bicycling; (c) ice-skating; (d) inline skating; (e) soccer; (f) swimming; (g) tennis; (h) walking; (i) jogging; and (j) running
Improving strength doesn’t have to mean lifting weights. Although some kids benefit from weightlifting, it should be done under the supervision of an experienced adult who works with them. But most kids don’t need a formal weight-training program to be strong. Push-ups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and other exercises help tone and strengthen muscles. Kids also incorporate strength activities in their play when they climb, do a handstand, or wrestle.
Stretching exercises help improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Kids look for opportunities every day to stretch when they try to get a toy just out of reach, practice a split, or do a cartwheel.
The percentage of overweight and obese kids and teens has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Although many factors contribute to this epidemic, children are becoming more sedentary. In other words, they’re sitting around a lot more than they used to.
One of the best ways to get kids to be more active is to limit the amount of time spent in sedentary activities, especially watching TV or playing video games. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends these limits on screen time: (a) kids under age 2 should watch no TV at all; and (2) kids older than 2 should be restricted to just 1-2 hours a day of quality programming (even if that means you or another responsible adult monitor what they are watching).
Parents should make sure that their kids get enough exercise. So, how much is enough? Kids and teens get 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. Infants and young children should not be inactive for prolonged periods of time — no more than 1 hour unless they’re sleeping. And school-age children should not be inactive for periods longer than 2 hours.
Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Thankfully there many parents/guardians have started on this path. But it is just the beginning. There is still quite a lot that must be done.
Here are some tips for raising fit kids: (1) Help your kids participate in a variety of age-appropriate activities; (2) Establish a regular schedule for physical activity; (3) Incorporate activity into daily routines, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator; (4) Embrace a healthier lifestyle yourself, so you’ll be a positive role model for your family; and (5) Keep it fun, so you can count on your kids to come back for more.
Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services say that children and adolescents age 6 and older need at least an hour a day of physical activity. Most of the hour should be either moderate or vigorous aerobic activity. In addition, children should participate in muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities at least three days a week.
Many classic activities — such as playing on playground equipment and jumping rope — cover all the bases at once. Organized sports are a great way to stay fit too. But team sports or dance classes aren’t the only options.
Get creative as you search for activities your child enjoys. If your child is artistically inclined, take a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks for use in a collage. If your child likes to climb, head for the nearest jungle gym. If your child likes to read, walk or bike to a local library for a book. Or simply turn on your child’s favorite music and dance in the living room.
Exercise with your child to better your own health while helping modeling for and stimulating your child to develop good exercise habits. Remember, incorporating physical activity into your child’s daily routine sets the foundation for a lifetime of fitness and good health.
PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND ITS BENEFITS
You know exercise is good for you, but do you know just how well? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.
Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing to exercise?
Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons including strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, honing athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance, as well as for the purpose of enjoyment. Frequent and regular physical exercise boosts the immune system, and helps prevent the “disease of affluence” such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. It also improves mental health, helps prevent depression, helps to promote or maintain positive self-esteem, and can even augment an individual’s sex appeal or body image, which is also found to be linked with higher levels of self-esteem. Childhood obesity is a growing global concern and physical exercise may help decrease some of the effects of childhood and adult obesity. Health care providers often call exercise the “miracle” or “wonder” drug—alluding to the wide variety of proven benefits that it provides.
Physical exercises are generally grouped into three types, depending on the overall effect they have on the human body: (a) Aerobic exercise is any physical activity that uses large muscle groups and causes your body to use more oxygen than it would while resting. The goal of aerobic exercise is to increase cardiovascular endurance. Some excellent ideas for aerobic exercise include cycling, swimming, brisk walking, skipping rope, rowing, hiking, playing tennis, continuous training and long slow distance training; (b) Anaerobic exercise is also called strength or Resistance training and can firm, strengthen, and tone your muscles, as well as improve bone strength, Balance and Coordination. Strength moves include pushups, lunges, and bicep curls using dumbbells. Anaerobic exercise also include weight training, functional training, eccentric training, Interval training, sprinting and high-intensity interval training increase short-term muscle strength; and (c) Flexibility exercises stretch and lengthen your muscles. Activities such as stretching help to improve joint flexibility and keep muscles limber. The goal is to improve the range of motion which can reduce the chance of injury.
Physical exercise can also include training that focuses on accuracy, agility, power and speed. Sometimes the terms ‘dynamic’ and ‘static’ are used. ‘Dynamic’ exercises such as steady running tend to produce a lowering of the diastolic blood pressure during exercise, due to the improved blood flow. Conversely, static exercise (such as weight-lifting) can cause the systolic pressure to rise significantly (during the exercise).
Physical exercise is important for maintaining physical fitness and can contribute positively to maintaining a healthy weight, building and maintaining healthy bone density, muscle strength, and joint mobility, promoting physiological well-being, reducing surgical risks, and strengthening the immune system. Developing research has demonstrated that many of the benefits of exercise are mediated through the role of skeletal muscle as an endocrine organ. That is, contracting muscles release multiple substances known as myokines which promote the growth of new tissue, tissue repair, and multiple anti-inflammatory functions, which in turn reduce the risk of developing various inflammatory diseases.
Exercise reduces levels of cortisol, which causes many health problems, both physical and mental. Conversely, exercise increases levels of saliva nitrite, which can be converted to the nitric oxide, thereby, increasing intensity and training load. Salvia testing for nitric oxide serves as a marker for training status.
Endurance exercise before meals lowers blood glucose more than the same exercise after meals.] According to the World Health Organization, lack of physical activity contributes to approximately 17% of heart disease and diabetes, 12% of falls in the elderly, and 10% of breast cancer and colon cancer.
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise work to increase the mechanical efficiency of the heart by increasing cardiac volume (aerobic exercise), or myocardial thickness (strength training). Ventricular hypertrophy, the thickening of the ventricular walls, is generally beneficial and healthy if it occurs in response to exercise.
Not everyone benefits equally from exercise. There is tremendous variation in individual response to training; where most people will see a moderate increase in endurance from aerobic exercise, some individuals will as much as double their oxygen uptake, while others can never augment endurance. However, muscle hypertrophy from resistance training is primarily determined by diet and testosterone. This genetic variation in improvement from training is one of the key physiological differences between elite athletes and the larger population. Studies have shown that exercising in middle age leads to better physical ability later in life.
The beneficial effect of exercise on the cardiovascular system is well documented. There is a direct relation between physical inactivity and cardiovascular mortality, and physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease. There is a dose-response relation between the amount of exercise performed from approximately 700 to 2000 kcal of energy expenditure per week and all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in middle-aged and elderly populations. The greatest potential for reduced mortality is in the sedentary who become moderately active. Most beneficial effects of physical activity on cardiovascular disease mortality can be attained through moderate-intensity activity (40% to 60% of maximal oxygen uptake, depending on age). People who modify their behavior after myocardial infarction to include regular exercise have improved rates of survival. People who remain sedentary have the highest risk for all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality.
Although there have been hundreds of studies on exercise and the immune system, there is little direct evidence on its connection to illness. Epidemiological evidence suggests that moderate exercise has a beneficial effect on the human immune system; an effect which is modeled in a J curve. Moderate exercise has been associated with a 29% decreased incidence of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), but studies of marathon runners found that their prolonged high-intensity exercise was associated with an increased risk of infection occurrence. However, another study did not find the effect. Immune cell functions are impaired following acute sessions of prolonged, high-intensity exercise, and some studies have found that athletes are at a higher risk for infections. The immune systems of athletes and non-athletes are generally similar. Athletes may have slightly elevated natural killer cell count and cytolytic action, but these are unlikely to be clinically significant. Vitamin C supplementation has been associated with lower incidence of URTIs in marathon runners.
Physical activity has been shown to be neuro-protective in many neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases. Evidence suggests that it reduces the risk of developing dementia. Physical activity and aerobic exercise in particular, enhances older adults’ cognitive function.
There are several possibilities for why exercise is beneficial for the brain. Examples are as follows: (a) increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain; (b) increasing growth factors that help neurogenesis and promote synaptic plasticity — possibly improving short and long term memory; and (c) increasing chemicals in the brain that help cognition, such as dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine and serotonin. Physical activity is thought to have other beneficial effects related to cognition as it increases levels of nerve growth factors, which support the survival and growth of a number of neuronal cells.
A number of factors may contribute to depression including being overweight, low self-esteem, stress, and anxiety. Endorphins act as a natural pain reliever and antidepressant in the body. Endorphins have long been regarded as responsible for what is known as “runner’s high”, a euphoric feeling a person receives from intense physical exertion. However, recent research indicates that anandamide may possibly play a greater role than endorphins in “runner’s high”. When a person exercises, levels of both circulating serotonin and endorphins are increased. These levels are known to stay elevated even several days after exercise is discontinued, possibly contributing to improvement in mood, increased self-esteem, and weight management. Exercise alone is a potential prevention method and/or treatment for mild forms of depression. Research has also shown that when exercise is done in the presence of other people (familiar or not), it can be more effective in reducing stress than simply exercising alone.
Exercise generally improves sleep for most people, and helps sleep disorders such as insomnia. The optimum time to exercise may be 4 to 8 hours before bedtime, though exercise at any time of day is beneficial, with the possible exception of heavy exercise taken shortly before bedtime, which may disturb sleep. There is, in any case, insufficient evidence to draw detailed conclusions about the relationship between exercise and sleep. Exercise can be a healthy, safe and inexpensive way to achieve much better sleep.
Too much exercise can be harmful. Without proper rest, the chance of stroke or other circulation problems increases, and muscle tissue may develop slowly. Extremely intense, long-term cardiovascular exercise, as can be seen in athletes who train for multiple marathons, has been associated with scarring of the heart and heart rhythm abnormalities. Inappropriate exercise can do more harm than good, with the definition of “inappropriate” varying according to the individual. For many activities, especially running and cycling, there are significant injuries that occur with poorly regimented exercise schedules. Injuries from accidents also remain a major concern, whereas the effects of increased exposure to air pollution seem only a minor concern.
Stopping excessive exercise suddenly may create a change in mood. Feelings of depression and agitation can occur when withdrawal from the natural endorphins produced by exercise occurs. Exercise should be controlled by each body’s inherent limitations. While one set of joints and muscles may have the tolerance to withstand multiple marathons, another body may be damaged by 20 minutes of light jogging. This must be determined for each individual.
Worldwide there has been a large shift towards less physically demanding work. This has been accompanied by increasing use of mechanized transportation, a greater prevalence of labor saving technology in the home, and less active recreational pursuits. Personal lifestyle changes however can correct the lack of physical exercise.
Proper nutrition is as important to health as exercise. When exercising, it becomes even more important to have a good diet to ensure that the body has the correct ratio of macronutrients while providing ample micronutrients, in order to aid the body with the recovery process following strenuous exercise.
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don’t need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or revving up your household chores.
Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.
Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. If you get bored, try something new.
Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns
EXERCISING IN THE MORNING
EXERCISING IN THE EVENING
Is there a best time of day to exercise? Two of the top reasons people give for not exercising regularly include lack of results and lack of time. So, for many people, the best time to exercise is the time that is most convenient and the time that fits into a busy schedule.
Research on exercise and time of day is growing, but still limited and not without controversy. In general, if you can find a time for exercise that you can stick with consistently, you will be much more likely to train regularly and get better results.
Human sleep and wake cycles follow a daily cycle called circadian rhythms. It’s this cycle that regulates our body temperature, blood pressure, alertness and metabolism, among other physiological functions. In general, these rhythms conform to our 24-hour day and may be reset based upon environmental cues. The time of day that we typically exercise is one of these cues. By using an alarm clock, establishing meal times and even when we workout are all cues to help rest our rhythms. It has been found that people who consistently exercise in the morning “teach” their body to be most ready for exercise at that time of day. When they switched to evening exercise, they didn’t feel as strong.
The ability to adjust your rhythms is important for athletes training for a specific event. The message is to train at the same time of day that the event will occur. Research supports this advice. Studies show that your ability to maintain exercise intensity will adapt to your training time. Therefore, if you do your marathon training in the morning, you may perform better on race day (marathons typically start in the morning). But if you train in the evening, a morning race day may leave you feeling weaker and slower.
Some people are just naturally morning people. They have no trouble exercising first thing in the morning. Others don’t get moving so quickly and are more likely to feel like exercising later in the day. If you have such an obvious preference it’s pretty easy to decide what sort of exercise schedule you might stick with. The interesting thing is that research shows that no matter when you are better able to exercise, almost all of us are, in fact, physically stronger and have more endurance in the late afternoon.
Not everyone can choose to exercise when they feel like it. Work and family commitments often take priority and we end up squeezing in some exercise. If you find that the only time you have to exercise is when you least feel like it, don’t despair. You can change your rhythms and your body can adapt to a new exercise time. However, it may take about a month to reset your internal exercise clock. While there is specific research being conducted on this topic, unfortunately the answer to the question, “What is the best time for exercise?” varies based upon the specific question you ask, your training goals, and your exercise adherence. Here are some of the latest specific research findings: (a) Late Afternoon is Best for Exercise – Research shows that the optimal time to exercise is when our body temperature is at its highest, which, for most people is 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (body temperature is at its lowest just before waking); (b) Strength is Greater in the Afternoon
strength output is 5% higher at around mid-day; anaerobic performance, such as sprinting, improves by 5% in the late afternoon; (c) Endurance is Greater in the Afternoon
Aerobic capacity (endurance) is approximately 4% higher in the afternoon; (d) Injuries Are Less Likely in the Afternoon – Afternoon exercise is the best if you want to avoid injuries for many reasons. We are most alert; our body temperature is the highest so our muscles are warm and flexible; and our muscle strength is at its greatest. These three factors make it less likely that we will get injured; (e) Morning Exercisers Are More Consistent – Even though afternoon exercise might be optimal from a physiological standpoint, research also shows that morning exercisers are more likely to stick to it that late-day athletes; and (f) Evening Exercise and Sleep – Most research supports the idea that exercise can improve sleep quality. But does exercising too late in the evening keep you up? Studies have shown improvements in sleep from both morning and afternoon exercise, so it’s not yet clear if evening exercise keeps you up. One study even showed that vigorous exercise half an hour before bedtime did not affect sleep.
The Bottom Line – The good news is that you get to decide the best time for you to exercise based upon your personal goals, schedule and lifestyle. Ideally, you will pick a time that you are able to stick with consistently and make part of your daily or weekly schedule. If you are training for competition, it’s wise to modify your training to accommodate the event start time, and it’s always wise to warm up before any workout.
Questioning the best time to do cardio is like questioning when to take your vitamins. Although there are benefits to both times, in general, the best time is whenever you do it. The right time is based not on science but on your ability to fit it into your schedule. A few precautions should be considered if you have certain health conditions, but your cardio exercise schedule should be based on whatever works best for you.
One of the main reasons some people prefer to do cardio in the morning is the significant impact it has on the rest of their day. A high energy run or bike ride before work is just the boost some people need to keep the momentum going at the office. Some also find that if they work out in the morning they make healthier food choices throughout the day. Studies show that individuals who exercise in the morning are more likely to be consistent with their workouts than if they exercise at any other time of day. Another incentive for a morning cardio workout is the reality that most gyms are slightly less busy at that time.
For those who find it tough to simply get out of bed in the morning, evening cardio has its advantages. The body is fully awake from a full day of activities so warming up takes less time. Your body’s temperature naturally increases a few degrees by the evening, resulting in warmer muscles and a slight increase in your performance. Since you won’t have to rush off to work, you’re more likely to devote more quality time to your workout. Exercising in the evening also curbs your cravings, so you’ll be less likely to snack before bed. Besides, you’re in the gym instead of watching prime time television as a couch potato, which means those snacks might not even be on your mind. Working out in the evening gives you an opportunity to relax and clear your head from the busy day. Doing cardio at night, however, might interfere with sleep, so try to make your workout end at least an hour before bedtime.
It is important to fuel your body before your cardio workout. For those exercising in the morning, this might be a challenge. Consider eating half of your breakfast before the workout and half afterwards. Even a small amount of food is better than nothing. In the evening, consider eating a small snack rather than a large dinner before your cardio. You will feel better and have more energy during your workout if you are not hungry. Whether doing cardio in the early morning or evening, if you are outside make sure you wear appropriate reflective gear and watch out for traffic.
Minimize the amount of times you do back-to-back cardio. That is, evening cardio and then morning cardio the next day. Try to give your body at least 12 hours to recuperate and repair the muscles affected during the cardio workout. As always, check with your doctor before starting a new workout routine. Everybody is different and each person has specific needs.
Most of us aren’t so crazy about getting up at the crack of dawn for fun things, let alone for exercise (not that we don’t think exercise is fun, of course). But it turns out that there are a number of benefits to setting your alarm clock a little bit earlier and getting your fitness on to the soundtrack of birds chirping and the sun rising. With all the hustle and bustle of kids, work and life, it can be challenging to make the time to exercise. But exercising in the morning is a wonderful way to create a positive routine and provides many added benefits beyond just keeping you fit. Here are just some examples: (1) A Consistent Work-out – A big barrier to getting enough exercise is often the fact that it’s hard to fit it into a daily schedule. It’s extra hard if you have kids, work unpredictable hours, or have a somewhat spontaneous social life. If you commit to working out in the morning, however, you’re way less likely to have the excuse of things just popping up. Plus, you won’t be exhausted from a rough day at the office. In fact, people who work out in the morning have shown to stick to their exercise plans better than people who plan to exercise after work; (2) Better Cardiovascular Impact – One of the reasons you’re plugging in time on the treadmill or pounding the pavement is to improve your heart health, right? Well, working out in the morning can actually increase the impact that exercise has on your heart. Why? One of the ways that your body naturally wakes you up is by increasing levels of hormones like adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster. This means that you can eke out some extra cardiovascular benefits when you work out in the morning. A caveat: if you have heart problems, talk to your doctor about working out in the morning, because research has shown that this extra heart activity can lead to chest pain and even heart attacks for people with underlying issues; (3) Brain Boosting Power – Exercise has been proven to increase mental focus and acuity for up to ten whole hours post-workout. If you’re squeezing in your exercise regimen after work, you’re not taking full advantage of those ten hours, since you’re likely sleeping for most of them. An A.M. workout means that both your brain and your body are in good shape all day; (4) Better Weight Loss – If you’re working out to shed some pounds, it looks like the morning is the optimal exercise time for you. An early trip to the gym has been shown to result in fewer food cravings throughout the day. Perhaps even better, working out in the morning means that your body will burn calories faster and more efficiently throughout the day. Combine it with nutritional foods and you have the perfect workout. BETTER DIET – By knocking out your exercise first thing, you will approach your food differently throughout the day. You will be proud of yourself for getting up and burning some calories, so why sabotage it with an unhealthy lunch? Instead, you will want to continue your positive choices by eating foods that make you feel fresh and energized; and (5) More Energy – Exercise releases feel-good compounds like endorphins that improve your mood and energy levels, an effect that can last well into the afternoon if you get your workout in early. Plus, exercising in the morning can help you sleep better than if you work out later in the evening, since you’re not getting that extra energy boost as you’re trying to settle in for the night.
It is very important to always stay in good shape so as to avert any kind of health problems. However, for a successful workout, it is recommended to exercise each morning. Some of the reasons why morning exercises is beneficial are: (1) Boosts metabolism – Any time you work-out at dawn, it boosts your metabolism. It helps keeping it elevated throughout the day. This means that you will be burning calories even when you are not exercising during the day. Furthermore, exercising at dawn provides lots of energy or doing daily tasks; (2) Appetite regulation – Morning workouts help regulate appetite during the day. When you work-out at dawn, you will make better choices with regards to the kind of foods you want to consume. Many people have said that this kind of workout clears their mind and gives them a healthier mindset; (3) Best time to exercise – Through exercising at dawn; you make certain that nothing else is going to get in your way and crowd your schedule. In most instances, when you are having a hectic day, you are going to overlooking working out. As such, dawn is the best time of the day to work out since it also offers fewer distractions; and (4) Improves sleep – Research clearly shows that those who exercise frequently at dawn have better quality sleep. As such, these people need less sleep. Waking up half an hour earlier at dawn to work out can therefore benefit you with improved sleep. When necessary, you are advised to make sure you sleep earlier and you will have a simpler time waking up.
Morning exercises provide a good opportunity for thinking clearly, planning the day or simply relaxing mentally. Exercise also enhances mental acuity and thus it is a better use of the brain, rather than just sleeping at dawn.
I exercise every day, in the late afternoon, and the workout really does help. In the summer time I even do water aerobics in the pool. I find the daily exercise very exhilarating. Even by exercising later in the day you also get the opportunity to work off any irritations and frustrations from the day.
Is it really necessary for people to exercise on a daily basis? And why? Is there a special motivation or? Is it a healthy thing or what?
Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness as well as overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons including strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, athletic skills, weight loss and/or management. As well as for the purpose of enjoyment. It has been proven that frequent and regular exercise aids in boosting the immune system, and helps prevent numerous diseases like heart and cardiovascular disease amongst others. Exercise has also been proven to aid in the improvement of mental health, helps prevent depression, improves mental health, promote or maintain positive self-esteem, and even augment an individual’s sex appeal or body image. Obesity in children is a growing global concern and physical exercise may help decrease some of the effects of childhood and adult obesity, as well as more of a healthier lifestyle and healthier choices in food. Physical exercises are generally grouped into three types, depending on the overall effect they have on the human body: Flexibility exercises like stretching, improves the range of motion of muscles and joints. Aerobic exercises like as cycling, swimming, walking or tennis focuses on increasing cardiovascular endurance. Anaerobic exercises such as weight training, aids in increasing short-term muscle strength. Physical exercise is used to improve physical skills. Physical skills fall into the following general categories: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and more.
Physical exercise is important for maintaining and physical fitness and can contribute positively to maintaining a healthy weight, building and maintaining healthy bone density, muscle strength, and joint mobility, promoting physiological well-being, reducing surgical risks, and strengthening the immune system.
Frequent and regular aerobic exercise has been shown to help prevent or treat serious and life-threatening chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, insomnia, as well as depression. Endurance exercise before meals lowers blood glucose more than the same exercise after meals. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise work to increase the mechanical efficiency of the heart by increasing cardiac volume (aerobic exercise), or myocardial thickness (strength training).
Unfortunately, not everyone benefits equally from exercise. There is tremendous variation in individual response to training; where most people will see a moderate increase in endurance from aerobic exercise, some individuals will as much as double their oxygen uptake, while others can never augment endurance. However, muscle hypertrophy from resistance training is primarily determined by diet and testosterone. This genetic variation in improvement from training is one of the key physiological differences between elite athletes and the larger population. Studies have shown that exercising in middle age leads to better physical ability later in life.
The beneficial effect of exercise on the cardiovascular system is well documented. There is a direct relation between physical inactivity and cardiovascular mortality, and physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease. The greatest potential for reduced mortality is in the sedentary who become moderately active. Most beneficial effects of physical activity on cardiovascular disease mortality can be attained through moderate-intensity activity (40% to 60% of maximal oxygen uptake, depending on age). persons who modify their behavior after heart attack to include regular exercise have improved rates of survival. Persons who remain sedentary have the highest risk for all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality.
Inappropriate exercise can do more harm than good, with the definition of “inappropriate” varying according to the individual. With any activity, there are significant injuries that occur with poorly regimented exercise schedules. Stopping excessive exercise suddenly can also create a change in mood. I know this quite well. I was unable to exercise for slightly more than 3 months due to injury and several hospitalizations and surgery, which was not fun for me at all. I am now starting to reassume my exercise routine, plus finally being able to wear 2 shoes again after so long. Feelings of depression and agitation can occur when withdrawal from the natural endorphins produced by exercise occurs. Exercise should be controlled by each body’s inherent limitations.
Personal lifestyle changes can correct the lack of physical exercise. Adults are getting aware from the lack of physical active lifestyle and becoming more active and making appropriate healthy choices. This more active lifestyle is becoming apparent with children has well, but unfortunately more needs to be done with children regarding exercise, as well as a more healthy lifestyle choice (food choices and exercise). Exercise, is important and beneficial for everyone, as well as helping to increase your lifespan and overall health and well-being.
The benefits of exercise have been known since antiquity. In approximately 65 BC, Marcus Cicero stated: “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.” the link between physical health and exercise (or lack of it) was only discovered in 1949.