Are you perplexed by the advertisements on TV, FB, or Instagram highlighting yet another new fitness guru, gym, or workout program? The fitness industry is constantly reinventing itself by introducing new methods, practices, and programs and it has created so much confusion that it can make your head spin. Am I right? What’s worse though is this overload of information and is keeping you from actually starting an exercise program.
Remember: Overcoming information overload on the internet is the core goal of Living Healthy List. Living Healthy List is here to help.
Before we go into the details, let’s cover some basic concepts.
The two major issues with exercise are consistency and the type of exercise. It is important to understand that like most lifestyle changes, exercising can take time to become the new norm for you. In addition, the effects of exercise (or eating less, if losing weight is your goal) may take some time to be seen.
Living Healthy with Exercise Includes:
- Just Move It! Move your body every day.
- Eat Real Food (which we talk about Here)
- Getting rest and recovery.
Getting healthy and physically fit should not be so complicated. After reading this section, if you think you might need more advice, we can connect you with an expert.
It is important to understand that all of the different exercise programs, gyms, and exercise fit into 4 simple categories: Aerobic (or endurance), strength, flexibility, and stability.
Each component is important to maintain a healthy body that functions at its best Certain types of exercise may involve a combination of these, however, one usually dominates.
Also known as cardio, it is essential for heart health, stamina, and one of the most popular types of exercise for weight loss. Women tend to gravitate toward cardio exercises especially in a gym setting where there are often a number of treadmills and elliptical machines. Other examples of cardio include rowing, cycling, and swimming. the way nature made it can make a huge difference to the way you think, look and feel. A diet based on real food may be one of the most important things you can do to for your health. In a nutshell eat real food for a healthy, happy life!
Benefits of Cardio Exercise:
- Helps you burn fat and calories for weight loss.
- Strengthens your heart so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.
- Increases your lung capacity for better stamina
- Can help you sleep better
An essential part of a healthy lifestyle and is vital for strong bones and muscles. Strength training doesn’t necessarily mean lifting heavy weights, though that has its benefits, too. Resistance bands and bodyweight exercises like pushups and lunges, work equally as well for some people as pumping iron, plus they take up less room and are easy to travel with.
Strength training gives you a more sculpted body that hours on the treadmill can ever provide. Remember, different exercises provide different results. As we get older strength training can help reduce accidental falls and helps you do everyday activities that require lifting.
Benefits of Strength Training:
- Increase muscle mass.
- Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.
- Helps maintain joint flexibility and can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
- Burn more calories: As you gain muscle, your body begins to burn calories more easily, making it easier to control your weight.
When you were a kid could you do cartwheels, splits, and easily bending over to touch your toes? As we grow up, we spend less time playing and moving freely. Instead, we sit at computers, drive our cars, and spend hours fiddling with our phones.
Activities that lengthen and stretch your muscles help keep your body limber. Nimble muscles help prevent injuries, back pain, balance problems, and help you maintain range of motion. You’ll also experience more freedom of movement for other exercises and everyday activities like reaching, bending, or stooping.
All the things that suffer from sedentary lifestyles.
Yoga and Pilates can not only help you regain and maintain your flexibility they also help build strength, too. Also, once you develop strength and flexibility your body can withstand more physical stress which helps prevent injuries.
Benefits of Flexibility Exercices:
- Improved posture and balance
- Fewer injuries
- Less pain
- Better balance and strength
The most overlooked and arguably the most important word in health and fitness is balance.
Balance equals control.
Balance training involves performing exercises that strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core. As we get older and I mean even just a little it is essential to maintain and improve balance. The ability to keep yourself steady could mean the difference in continuing to do everyday activities such as walking, going up and down the stairs, and even leaning over to tie your shoes.
Certain yoga poses, standing on one foot, heel-to-toe walking, and tai chi poses help improve your coordination and ability to react to sudden changes of direction which can prevent falls.
Understanding the categories and benefits each provides is important however if you read about them and never start exercising the information is useless.
You want to know how to get started, right?
We’ve come up with 6 manageable ways you can add exercise into your daily routine that will help improve your physical fitness.
1. Just Move It
Nike says to “Just Do It”. I’m telling you to Just Move It! You need to do something every day to groove your body. Studies show that just 30 minutes of physical activity a day is all that’s required to reap big benefits.
However, that does not mean that It’s OK to sit for the rest of the day. Regular movements like walking, running, lifting, and bending add cumulative benefits to your health and physical fitness.
2. Find Something You Enjoy!
Exercise does not have to be complicated and it does not have to be boring. Is there a sport that you like or used to play? Your local recreation center or sports facility may offer adult sports teams and classes. Look into your local continuing education program for introductory and intermediate classes. Did you ever want to try ballet but thought you were too old? YouTube Videos hosts a plethora of adult ballet/barre classes that you can do in the privacy of your living room. When you find something, you enjoy schedule the appropriate time in your daily calendar and “Just Move It”!
3. Slowly Increase Intensity
Once you’ve been doing an activity for a little while, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same exercises at the same pace day after day. When you feel this way about your workouts it’s time to slowly add some intensity. (Adding intensity too soon can cause injury and burnout so you want to listen to your body.) Intensity brings variety to your workouts, helps you to burn more calories and boosts your endurance. It’s also a great way to get an effective workout in only 20-30 minutes. Here’s an example.
Add a few minutes of jogging to your walks. If you’ve been jogging incorporate a few short explosive bursts or add a hill workout. For strength training add a little more weight and decrease the number of reps. Check out these bodyweight circuit workouts and increase your intensity. Next workout, see if you can do more circuits. It’s great! Try this circuit
Post work out recovery is important it helps you avoid injury and keeps you in the game. Here are some suggested Recovery practices.
4. Keep It Simple
You don’t need to buy expensive equipment or join a gym especially when you are just starting out. Bodyweight exercises can do amazing things for you and if you are a relative beginner, you should start with this type of exercise before progressing to weights, anyway.
You don’t need cardio machines, either! Step outside and walk, run, bike, skip, or jump. Your local high school football stadium is the perfect place for a stair workout. Walk up and down a few times and feel the burn in your butt and thighs.
If you choose to work with weights, a few dumbbells of different weights or resistance bands are all you really need. Resistance bands are easy to use and they take up less room.
When you are ready to up your game there are a number of terrific workout facilities that will help you achieve your next level goals. Check out the resources at the bottom of the page.
5. Set Goals
Setting strategic goals is proven to help you achieve more because they help you pick the right actions, help you put in more effort, and keep you in it for the long run.
When setting fitness goals (or any goal for that matter) its vital to understand you WHY! Why are these goals personally meaningful to you? It’s one thing to say you want to lose 10 lbs. It’s specific but is it enough to keep you motivated? Say your goal is to lose 10 lbs. because you want to take a hiking trip in the mountains, now that is A LOT more specific!
6. Give it time
You may notice certain improvements after a few weeks like better posture or more energy. Too often people expect to see BIG results immediately, within the first month or so. I know the media makes it seem like it’s possible but in reality, true fitness rarely happens that way — it’s a process and a lifestyle change. Enjoy the process and you will experience the reward!
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, get in better shape, or just want to feel better about yourself, there are many benefits to working out that have nothing to do with weight loss.
Non-Weight Loss Benefits of Exercise
- More energy
- More confidence
- Less stress
- Less anxiety
- Reduced feelings of depression
- Better sleep*
Do you need more reasons to get physical? Here are 11 more reasons!
Movement and proper nutrition are essential to your physical fitness and overall quality of life. We’ve given you information to help you get started on your journey to a healthier you.
If you want to do more research well, we’ve done that, too!
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Below you’ll find additional resources from video suggestions to various workouts and sports clubs and other recommendations we thought that you might find helpful on your health and fitness journey. Living Healthy List is not affiliated with any of these programs and we do not receive compensation.