Exercise and Good Health

Exercise is on everyone’s mind in the New Year. Gyms are packed, my wife is jogging and everyone is making resolutions to get healthier. No matter your fitness level, you can benefit from daily exercise. Our bodies are designed to move. Like many of you, I have resolved to improve my personal health by starting an exercise program.

Physical movement done with the intention of improving health (exercise) is a fundamental necessity for human health.

➢ Exercise moves our lymphatic fluid, the liquid that carries immune cells and eliminates cellular waste. Unlike blood, which is pumped throughout the body by the heart, the circulation of lymphatic fluid is entirely dependent on skeletal muscle contraction.

➢ Exercise lifts the mood, improves energy, and overall feeling of wellbeing. Most of us suffer from “stuck energy” caused by excessive work, excessive stress, and lack of physical movement.

➢ Exercise improves insulin sensitivity.

➢ Exercise increases metabolism and helps with fat loss and the production of lean muscle mass.

➢ Exercise strengthens the heart, reduces cardiovascular risk, and increases HDL.

5 ways to get the most out of your new years exercise program:

1. Make your personal health your #1 priority. Most of us are excellent at ignoring our own needs so that we can push harder for the people we love. While based on good intentions this pattern can easily become pathologic. Remember that your loved ones need you healthy and functional!

2. Concentrate your workout with high intensity short duration interval training. Interval training consists of short bursts of high intensity exercise that train your metabolism, muscles, and cardiovascular system to adapt for maximum power output. Research shows that high intensity, short duration interval training is more effective than traditional low intensity, high duration “cardio” for burning fat, increasing lean body composition, increasing metabolism, and for strengthening the heart. Another benefit of interval training is that it requires minimal time commitment in order to get results. With interval training, you can get a very effective and intense workout in just 20 minute each day.

3. Make daily exercise a habit. It helps to work out at the same time every day. I do 20 minutes of interval training before I get ready for work each the morning.

4. Do what it takes to make yourself achieve your goals. If possible, workout with someone who will help keep you motivated. This definitely helps, whether it means making your spouse your workout buddy or hiring a personal trainer. A journal may make you more accountable too.

5. Stretch! Stretching is essential for keeping your muscles supple and your joints lubricated. An easy way to make stretching part of your daily routine is to do it while you are watching TV and unwinding.