Regular exercise – especially aerobic exercise – is no less important to our health than getting the recommended allowance of fruits and vegetables every day. Studies indicate that exercise lowers blood pressure and elevates mood. It may also reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and certain cancers.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 engage in moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 30 minutes five days a week or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity for at least 20 minutes three days a week. Strength training should be done twice a week.
That may seem like a tall order when we already feel there aren’t enough hours in the day, but experts say that the more you exercise, the greater the benefits – both for your body and your mind. In fact, the highly respected Mayo Clinic states that aerobic exercise “may be the magic bullet you’ve been looking for.” Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart which allows it to pump blood more efficiently and improve flow throughout your body. In addition to reducing health risks, regular aerobic exercise helps control some chronic conditions, such as alleviating chronic muscle pain and lowering high blood pressure.
Experts say that regular exercise increases your sense of well-being (which is not surprising), when considering all the other benefits you reap. By boosting your immune system, aerobic exercise helps ward off viral ailments such as the flu. Exercise can help decrease feelings of anxiety, and it can help alleviate feelings of stress. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise can also help you lose weight and keep it off.
And thankfully, with exercise as with vegetables, there are plenty of options to satisfy every preference. Running laps, getting on the treadmill or using elliptical machines aren’t the only ways to get aerobic activity into your day. You don’t need a gym membership to start getting fit. Skip the elevator and take the stairs at work. Take a bike ride with your children. You can get an aerobic workout by taking a brisk walk through the neighborhood or, if it’s too cold out, try doing loops inside your local mall.
For most people, the biggest excuse for not exercising every day is time. But over the long haul, exercising may literally gain you time – experts say that there appears to be a link between exercising and living longer.
So make time to exercise. Oh, and don’t forget to eat your veggies every day. Here are some easy exercises you can do at home.
A hoop is a good exercise for toning the waist, flexing the hip joints, and is also an excellent form of cardio. Using the hoop for 20 minutes can burn up to 200 calories. Burn more calories by modifying the exercise and lifting one foot off the ground while twirling the hoop.
Core exercises on a ball help strengthen muscles and improve balance and overall coordination. Work your backside in this exercise by lying on the ball as pictured with knees bent. Lower the hips towards the floor and squeeze the glutes to raise hips until body is in a straight line like a bridge.