Some people may not be able to do full exercise or go to the gym, but just walking 30 minutes a day can greatly improve your health and is also a great way to maintain your overall health. If you can’t manage 30 minutes a day, remember ‘even a little is good, but more is better’.
Regular walking has multiple benefits:
Help to maintain a healthy weight
Prevent or manage various health conditions such as, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes
Strengthen your bones and muscles
Improve your mood
Improve your balance and coordination
Walking with others can turn exercise into an enjoyable social occasion
The statistics are impressive: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Research shows that regular walking lowers blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20% to 40%.
In a study by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002, it found a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regular.
And according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can also spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Jampolis.
Walking can also keep your legs looking great. As we age, our risk of unsightly varicose veins increases—it’s just not fair. However, walking is a proven way to prevent those unsightly lines from developing.
If you already suffer from varicose veins, daily walking can help ease related swelling and restlessness in your legs and can also help delay the onset if you are prone to them.
Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles. Resistance training is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger.
A well-rounded fitness program includes strength training to improve joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as aerobic exercise to improve your heart and lung fitness, flexibility and balance exercises. Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines recommend that adults do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
Examples of resistance training
There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether at home or the gym.
Different types of resistance training include:
free weights – classic strength training tools such as dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells
medicine balls or sand bags – weighted balls or bags
weight machines – devices that have adjustable seats with handles attached either to weights or hydraulics
resistance bands – like giant rubber bands – these provide
resistance when stretched. They are portable and can be adapted to most
workouts. The bands provide continuous resistance throughout a movement
suspension equipment – a training tool that uses gravity and the user’s body weight to complete various exercises
your own body weight – can be used for squats, push-ups and
chin-ups. Using your own body weight is convenient, especially when
travelling or at work.
Health benefits of resistance training
Physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved through resistance training include:
improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury
maintaining flexibility and balance, which can help you remain independent as you age
weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest
may help reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older people
greater stamina – as you grow stronger, you won’t get tired as easily
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So you’ve slacked off a bit and avoided exercise. Maybe your job demands too much of your time or you simply fell out of the routine. I have news for you. Whether you’ve taken off one year, ten years or haven’t exercised a day in your life – it’s never too late to start. You see there are problems with living a life devoid of exercise. Big problems. Your weight rises along with your blood pressure and cholesterol. Your muscles and joints degenerate at an astounding rate leaving you with daily aches and pains. Your body becomes weak, making you susceptible to all kinds of medical issues.
Why Should I Start Now?
You’ve heard about the benefits that consistent exercise brings, but what if you haven’t been consistent? Should you even start at all? This has been the subject of many medical studies and the results are unanimous: Exercise helps improve your quality of life even if you start late. Researchers are constantly finding new benefits to consistent exercise. It’s no wonder that Dr. Robert Butler, of the National Institute on Aging, once said “If exercise could be put into a pill, it would be the single most prescribed medicine in the world.”
Imagine if a pill could offer all of these benefits (without harmful side effects):
Substantially reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and osteoporosis
Decreases the risk for stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure
Helps to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
Contributes to healthy bones, muscles and joints
Helps relieve anxiety and depression
Promotes well-being and reduces stress
Is associated with fewer doctor visits, hospitalizations and medications
Helps prevent and treat chronic medical conditions associated with old age
Increases energy levels and promotes sound sleep
Strengthens immune system
Many people have started an exercise program only to quit days later. Now that you have decided that exercise may be worth your time after all, ensure your success with the following tips:
Make a Commitment You know the meaning and value of a solid commitment. It’s in your blood. So don’t view exercise as something you will merely try. You will only reap the true benefits of exercise when you stick with it. A great way to reinforce your commitment is to solicit the support of your friends and family. Tell them how you plan to improve your health and quality of life through exercise – who knows, they may join you.
Set Reachable Goals This is an immensely important ingredient to your success. Don’t start your exercise program with unreasonable expectations. If you expect to lose all of your unwanted pounds, drop your blood pressure and cure your joint pain all in one week then you will be sorely disappointed. Remember that it took years for your body to fall out of shape so it makes sense that it will take some time to regain it. The key to unlocking all of the benefits of exercise lies in one word: consistency.
Rearrange Your Schedule As we age there is a tendency to become ‘stuck in our ways.’ Remind yourself that exercise is worth your time and then think long and hard about your daily schedule. The fact is that you do have time to lend toward exercise – you simply need to find it. Set aside 30-60 minutes for exercise and then stick with it.
Increase the Challenge You should start your exercise program with the thought of easing into it. Since you haven’t exercised in awhile your body will need to build up strength and endurance. Consider a car that has been sitting in your garage for years. You wouldn’t turn it on and instantly slam down on the gas would you? You need to warm it up. However, this warm up period should not last forever. Your body has an amazing ability to adapt to new challenges and will grow complacent when asked to do the same exercises over and over. When your routine begins to feel easy take that as a hint to increase the challenge. Don’t let another day pass you by. You deserve the good life.
Mind, Movement and Dance Class – Thursdays from 10:30
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