If you could increase your quality of life, would you? Would you like to add extra years to your life? Dedicating just 30 minutes of your day to exercise can do this for you and more! The National Institute on Aging states, “If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” Such a true statement! So, what is the best exercise you can do? It’s the one you’re going to do!
There are many excuses we use for not exercising; the weather is too hot or too cold, kids, too fat, don’t have the money, too old, too tired and the list goes on! The No.one excuse for people not exercising is – yes, you guessed it – time. If there is something you really want to do, don’t you find a way to do it? Just 30 minutes a day should be carved out of your day for exercise. We are creatures of habit. Once you get in a daily routine exercising, it will become a habit!
There are so many benefits of exercise you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it! Exercise strengthens the heart and lungs; it keeps you from getting tired; helps you sleep better, and it protects against the start of Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. It helps control blood pressure; helps improve digestion and elimination. Research has shown people who exercise have a better memory, better reaction times and better levels of concentration than non-exercisers. Exercise improves posture, coordination and appearance; it improves our range of motion, mental alertness and self-confidence. Exercise also helps us cope with stress, depression and anxiety. The big bonus is exercise enhances your quality of life; it helps you lose weight, and it helps maintain body weight. Whew! Can you believe exercise does all this!
For all of you who are still convinced you don’t have time to exercise, break your time up into 10-minute increments of fitness throughout the day. For example, during TV commercials, I try to get in arm curls, side bends, sit-ups or leg lifts, anything that gets your heart rate up.
You need to incorporate aerobic, muscule-strength and flexibility exercise into your weekly workouts for total overall fitness. Aerobic exercise works your heart and lungs. Exercise examples include walking, jogging, raking, swimming dancing, cycling, mowing (push-mower), elliptical and treadmill. Have you noticed as you age you are losing muscle tone? When you wave does your arm keep waving? Muscular exercise helps build and maintain muscle strength. It increases bone density and helps improve balance. Check with your doctor before adding a weight training component to your exercise routine. The key to weight training is getting the movements down correctly. Start off practicing the exercise without weights until you get the movement down correctly. This helps prevent injuries. Flexibility exercise warms up the muscles, improves range of motion and prevents muscle tightness. We stretch the muscle before we exercise and stretch after the exercise. It is important to consult your doctor to be sure you are healthy enough to start an exercise program.
Here are a few tips for an enjoyable exercise experience: Drink plenty of water while exercising; drink water before your work out, during workout and after. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Cotton is great for absorbing moisture and drying quickly. Wear a good supporting shoe; one that fits correctly and is comfortable.
Each year the LSU AgCenter offers the Smart Portions class. In this program you will learn more about exercise, modifying recipes, tip for eating out, portion sizes and more. If you are interested in this program, please call the LSU AgCenter to put your name on our waiting list. Our number is 318-251-5134.
Now I would like to challenge you to get started exercising!
Cathy S. Judd, Area Nutrition AgentLSU AgCenter, Cooperative Extension Agent
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