After my father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes almost twenty years ago I wanted to find out how I could avoid getting the same disease. I couldn’t fight some risk factors (age, family history or ethnicity) so I wanted to know what would make a difference.
Regular exercise along with a good diet was the number one recommendation. There are a lot more reasons to participate in regular exercise than warding off this one condition.
What is Regular Exercise? Although any exercise is better than none the recommended minimum amount of exercise for an adult is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Or at least that’s why my doctor told me!
Fortunately, it seems that it doesn’t matter if you do that 30 minutes all at once or split into 10 minute segments.
Benefits of Exercise
Here’s what you get for that 150 or more minutes a week of exercise.
1. Ward off Illness. Regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a large number of health conditions or problems. Regular exercise increases the “good cholesterol” known as high density lipoprotein in your blood and decreases triglycerides. It strengthens your heart and decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases including high blood pressure.
Other health conditions that can be avoided or bettered with exercise include stroke, metabolic syndrome, depression, some cancers, arthritis and as I already mentioned type 2 diabetes.
2. Weight Control. Exercise can help with weight loss or maintenance especially when paired with a corresponding nutritional plan. By burning some of the calories ingested they don’t turn to fat. Plus your metabolism can get faster because the rate of energy use is increased.
3. Better Sleep. As long as you exercise more than four hours before bedtime you’ll have a deeper sleep and most likely fall asleep quicker.
4. Increase Energy. At first you may feel more tired when adding exercise to your routine but soon enough you’ll have extra energy throughout the day. This is because you build endurance, muscle strength and a more efficient cardiovascular system.
5. Good Mood. Exercise releases brain hormones that elevate mood. This is one reason it helps battle depression. You’ve heard of the endorphin high, right?
Regular exercise is something I’ll be working on this year for all the reasons listed above. Do you exercise regularly?
Note: This is part of the 31 days to better health series at Weight Chronicles. See previous articles here.
Mat @ Good Relaxation says
Wonderful post – thank you, very inspiring. For me exercising is a normal part of my everyday life. This post made me think, what do I get out of exercising. I realized that for me exercising is more about stress relief, and finding peace of mind. Exercising time is my time. I can sort out my thoughts, think about future plans and rest my mind. My mind is much clearer after an exercise.
For many people the benefits of exercising are mainly related with weight loss or muscle gain. But people rarely think about the benefits that are related to their mind. As healthy body starts from a healthy mind, it is very important to rest your mind during a workout.
I do try to exercise regularly, but I don’t always succeed. I think I just need to keep reminding myself of the benefits.
As Jefferson mentioned, the challenges is staying with it when time is pressed.
Jefferson @SeeDebtRun says
i am off to a good start in 2013, and have worked out every day this week. it is amazing how much better i just feel when i am doing this regularly.
the trick will be sticking with it when work gets stressful or when my or one of my kids gets sick.
Kay Lynn says
Congratulations on the workouts! I’m easing into the new year– haha. I’ve been walking with my dog but want to start more intense walking this week.
John S @ Frugal Rules says
Regular exercise is something my wife and I both need to add in. Not to use it as an excuse, but life just gets so busy that it’s one of the things that falls by the wayside. The kicker is that we have a very nice exercise bike sitting in our basement. For us it just has to be something we schedule, otherwise the likelihood of it happening is pretty small.
Kay Lynn says
John, I struggle with the same thing. I want to have time for everything but I don’t so exercise goes to the bottom of the list. I have a plan how to make it a priority which I’ll be sharing in a post soon.
When the weather is nice I get outside most days of the week for a walk..I really miss it. I NEED to start using the treadmill (dreadmill) though b/c it is too cold to get outside (it was -12 C today without factoring the wind chill). One of my goals is to lose weight before I get back to work in May.
Kay Lynn says
Catherine, sometimes I wish I had a treadmill so I could tie watching my favorite shows to walking on the treadmill. I can’t complain about our weather though so I guess it’s outside for me!