Diet is not the only way to look after our body and mind. We need to exercise and reduce stress, if we are to achieve good health. The body needs a pattern for life if it is to achieve perfect harmony. Excess in any part of the pattern will inhibit the other parts from functioning properly. Thus it is important to exercise in moderation, and keep stress to a minimum.
Regular exercise stimulates the metabolic rate (which slows down dramatically if you reduce your calorie (kilojoule) intake and don’t exercise). I find that a 30 minute walk in the evening about 30 minutes after dinner makes me feel really good about myself and my body. Choose the same time of day if possible, so that a habit is formed.
The older you are, the more important the exercise becomes. Your metabolic rate slows down and you need fewer calories to maintain your correct weight. Weight-bearing exercise is also needed to help prevent osteoporosis in aging bones.
The benefits of regular exercise
We were made to move. It is what our bodies were built for. It will:
• Help lower blood pressure
• Cut heart attack, and diabetes risk
• Reduce insulin needs if you have diabetes
• Help you stop smoking
• Control weight
• Increase levels of good HDL cholesterol
• Keep bones and joints strong
• Reduce colon cancer risk
• Improve mood
• Ease depression
We now know that one of the “golden rules” for good health is to accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity every day. That includes incidental activity (the calories we burn in our everyday activities) and planned exercise. To make a real difference, it must be regular and some of it needs to get the heart pumping. Every single bit counts!
Make it a daily challenge to find ways to move your body. Anything that moves your limbs is not only a fitness tool, it’s a stress buster. Think “move” in small increments of time. It doesn’t have to be an hour in the gym, or a 45 minute aerobic dance class. That’s great when you’re up to it. Meanwhile, move more. Thought for the day: Cha, cha, cha … then do it!
And, whenever possible, stay standing instead of sitting. Even standing still will burn more calories than sitting on your butt!
How many steps?
Research has shown that we need to take every day:
• 7,500 steps to maintain weight
• 10,000 steps to lose weight
• 12,500 steps to stay very active
Try to walk every day. You should accumulate 30 minutes or more, most days. Planned exercise doesn’t mean a gym. The key is to find some activities you enjoy. And do them regularly. Here are some ideas:
• Aerobics, exercise classes, spin sessions
• Exercise bikes
• Weight training is very important
• Paddling, rowing, and kayaking
• Swimming, surfing, and body surfing
• Team sports like baseball and basketball
• Tennis, squash, and other racket sports
• Yoga, Pilates, tai chi
• Although usually a young person’s spot, climbing in any form is excellent exercise for the whole body