In a major poll conducted in the United States, it was found that more than half of Americans were exercising on a regular basis, getting more than 90 minutes of exercise per week. While that might not seem like much, getting up and moving just a little bit is going to improve your health tremendously. Most experts recommend that you get more exercise than the standard 90 minutes per week, claiming that you should get 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times each week or vigorous exercise three times per week.
Most of us know that we should be fitting in more exercise into our daily routine, but usually come up with the same reasons why we don’t. Between a lack of time, lack of energy or just not feeling up to the task, many people put off exercise. Even just making minor changes can go a long way, though. To show you why you should be getting the minimum amount of recommended exercise at the very least, let’s take a look at some of the proven health benefits that you get from exercising.
The main reason that many of us exercise is to burn off calories in an effort to lose weight. There are a lot of factors that determine how many calories you burn while working out, including your gender, height, current weight and age. The other big factor is the intensity of the workout. Obviously, running at a high speed for 30 minutes is going to burn a lot more calories than a moderately paced walk.
Experts have said that there are specific types of cardio workouts that you’ll want to try if you want to burn the most calories. This includes interval training that has a lot of sprints, or even Tabata training. Swimming and jogging are also highly effective calorie burners. If you’re sedentary for the most part, your body might be burning up to 2,500 calories per day. If you’re eating that same amount, you won’t be losing any weight. Adding 30 minutes of running, however, can burn 500 calories on top of the 2,500. That equates to more than a 50 pound weight loss in just one year.
After a long day at work, one of the last things that you probably want to think about is getting on the treadmill or lifting a weight. However, reducing your stress levels can be done through adding more exercise according to science. It’s been found in studies that those who exercise on a regular basis tend to have a better overall mood, and the rate of people with depression is much lower in exercisers.
What happens when you exercise is that your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which are actually similar to morphine. Thankfully, you don’t get hooked on endorphins like you would with unnatural sources, making exercise a perfectly healthy (and legal) way of making yourself feel better. Endorphins not only improve your mood and well being, but will also allow you to be able to sleep better at night.
Great For the Heart
More people in the United States die every year from heart disease than any other source. Right up there on the list at number five are strokes, which can happen when you’re not focusing on your heart health. When you spend all of your life on the couch or at a desk, your heart isn’t getting the focus it needs, especially when combined with an unhealthy diet. To drastically reduce your chances of heart disease down the line, the American Heart Association suggests that you get 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
These are the minimum suggestions, so don’t be afraid to go above and beyond these numbers. Distance runners are notorious for having incredible heart strength, as they have resting heart rates typically below 60 beats per minute. Those that don’t get much exercise tend to have much higher heart rates, with some even above 100 beats per minute. Strengthening your heart vessels and reducing your cholesterol and overall blood pressure are common when you start getting more cardiovascular exercise.
Many studies have found that people who exercise on a consistent basis find themselves at a reduced risk of many forms of cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most reviewed, and it’s been found that exercise lowers the estrogen in your blood. When that happens, you reduce your chances of hormonal based cancers such as breast cancer, and there even postmenopausal women found a huge benefit.
For those that have already been diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things that doctors will tell you to do is start an exercise plan. Just about every type of cancer can be stunted by getting more exercise thanks to a reduction in inflammation, improving your heart health and boosting your immune system all at the same time. Combine with a health diet high in fruits and vegetables, and you can prevent cancer no matter your family history.
When we want to enhance our appearance through exercise, we typically think of our weight first and foremost. What might surprise you is that exercise also has a tremendous benefit for your skin, as well. When you exercise, you increase the amount of blood flow in your body, which carries oxygen to all cells, including in the skin. This fights against free radicals that can make you look older (as well as cause cancer).
Another aspect that might be hurting your skin is stress, and with exercise being a natural stress relief, it’s a great remedy. You’ll want to make sure that you’re washing away the sweat from a workout once you’re done, but you’ll see an improvement to your skin in no time. This is especially true with a diet high in vitamins A and C.
There’s a large number of people out there that have never exercised vigorously a day in their lives. For these people, it can be a bit hard to get started as you might not be in great shape. The first day might be the hardest, but it’s also the most rewarding in an exercise lifestyle. When you start a workout plan for the first time, your muscles will experience growth and your lungs will increase in capacity after the first day.
You don’t have to run a marathon during your first workout, you just have to get started. Try starting out with something slow such as walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes and then working your way up. With technology boosting faster than we can keep up, there are several phone apps that can guide you through a workout plan that fits your pace, especially if you’ve never worked out before. There’s also the ability to play music through your phone, making the workouts a bit easier!
Summing it Up
When you hear the word exercise, you probably think that it’s not for you because you usually associate it with professional athletes, bodybuilders or marathon runners. You don’t have to train like you’re getting ready for the Super Bowl or the Olympics, but instead work at your own pace. Getting moderate exercise doesn’t even have to be a daily occurrence, as long as you’re getting up and moving three to five times per week.
There are plenty of different exercises that you can do, so make sure you find the one that you actually enjoy and don’t get bored with. This helps you stick to a plan and attain all of the great health benefits that we pointed out. It’s also a great excuse to go shopping for some new shoes and clothes as you get started on your path to meet your fitness and health goals!