Leveraging Physical Activity
Goal: Total of 30 Min of Activity/Day
Exercise has justifiably earned the reputation in health circles as the true “fountain of youth”.
Although physical activity will make a world of difference to your future health, the best reasons to make exercise a priority are the benefits that you can experience today. Without fail, exercise will immediately increase your energy level, fade fatigue, and lighten your mood. Best of all, this magic comes at no cost and without side-effects!
Added to the instantaneous benefits is the fact that exercise is truly potent heart medicine. The beauty of exercise is that it improves all the major contributors to heart health including blood pressure, blood lipid levels, and blood sugar.
Cardio exercise, involving repetitive motion resulting in a sustained increase in heart rate, is the form of exercise most commonly associated with heart health. The best part is that it doesn’t take much to leverage huge benefits. Walking for only 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace leads to double digit reductions in heart risk. This type of walking program, paired with dietary changes, has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes by more than 50%–a rate nearly twice that of the most potent diabetes pill.
If your goal is to improve endurance or lose weight, a more intensive program will be required. Walking for a longer duration, or exercising more briskly can add additional benefits. Which form of exercise is best? Between walking, jogging, swimming, treadmill and elliptical workouts, the best exercise is the one that you enjoy!
In addition to cardio exercise, resistance training with weights has also been shown keep your heart strong. Weight training for as little as 30 min. per week is been shown to cut the risk of heart disease by almost 25%, with the added benefits of enhancing muscle tone and preventing osteoporosis.
Before starting any exercise program, always check with your health care professional who can advise you on a safe program based on your medical history.
- Don’t have time for a thirty minute power walk? Try 3 ten minute walks instead. The goal of 30 minutes of brisk daily walking can be divided into 2 or 3 segments during the day-with no loss of health benefits..
- You don’t have to lose weight to benefit from exercise. Even when exercise does not lead to weight loss, the health benefits of physical fitness remain very impressive.