Albert Einstein said it best, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
Our bodies were designed to move. In former times, our survival depended on it. Rest was a luxury. But our modern brains have created conveniences that take the physicality out of work. We no longer beat our clothes on rocks; we drop them in the washer, then sit down for a snack.
When not used, our bodies deteriorate. Many illnesses that plague us today result from lack of physical movement. Insufficient exercise is linked to heart disease, cancer, depression, anxiety, musculoskeletal disorders, and gastrointestinal disorders, among other ailments. Inflammatory symptoms that are often reduced by the Anti- inflammatory lifestyle are also improved with daily exercise.
Every day, we need to set aside time for aerobic exercise that gets our hearts beating faster so we work up a light sweat. The Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. That’s about 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Incorporating exercise into your daily life is the best way to make activity a habit. While you can join a fitness class or go to the gym, you can also get exercise just walking in your neighborhood or working in your garden. Varying your activities is good for your overall conditioning and keeps your interest high.
Strength-training is also important for a strong body. In addition to aerobic activity, try to work all major muscle groups at least two days a week.
If you’re trying to lose weight, exercise speeds up the process. Not only do you burn more calories during the activity but your body continues to burn higher for hours afterwards. Aim for 60 – 90 minutes of moderate exercise most days a week.
Working out can also address other issues, like stress. Tai chi and yoga are excellent for calming the mind while exercising the body. These activities also enhance flexibility, balance, and help you develop an overall connection with your body. For the elderly, it reduces the risk of injury from falls.
When our bodies have long been sedentary, starting an aerobic exercise program can feel uncomfortable. You may worry that you don’t have enough energy to exercise, but most people find that working out makes them feel more energized afterwards, not less.
Choose an activity you enjoy. Start with just a few minutes, then add on as you become more comfortable. Instead of hitting the treadmill, walk outside with a friend or a dog. Listen to music, a book, or podcast. Use the time to not only work your body but also to socialize or stimulate your mind, or enjoy quiet time. Instead of thinking of exercise as a chore, have fun!