moving muscle and joints will not either!
The topic of exercise was included in a booklet I wrote titled “Alternative Remedies for the Body, Mind & Spirit”. The Webster Dictionary defines ‘remedy’ as: a medicine, application, or treatment that relieves or cures a disease. I listed it as a remedy because I feel it is just that, a remedy.
Years ago, after being diagnosed with a particular health condition and finding that running and aerobics were too harsh on my body system, I had to find another way to move my body. After trying my first yoga class, I was hooked and have been doing it ever since. It has helped me immensely on my path back to health and vitality.
Unlike the blood circulatory system, which is pumped by the heart, the lymphatic system relies on the contraction of muscles to drain the lymphatic wastes back into the bloodstream via lymph nodes. Exercise will help you stay well by helping your lymphatic system out. It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you do, all that matters is that you MOVE YOUR BODY! Doing something DAILY if you can.There are three types of exercise the body needs; Cardiovascular, Strength Training (Muscular Strength & Endurance), and Flexibility Training.
Cardiovascular Exercise, involves continuous, rhythmic movements of large-muscle groups, such as rebounding (cellersizer which I swear by), walking, jogging, biking, aerobics, dancing and hiking. Ideally, this needs to be done 3-5 days a week.
Strength Training, sometimes called weight training or resistance training decreases the risk of osteoporosis and maintains muscle mass and function. Alternate these exercises with your cardio workouts and make sure to get all muscle groups to keep your body balanced.
Flexibility Training, will help with the ability to move the joints through their full range of motion. Pain free, flexible joints are important to good health and lifestyle. Inactivity causes us to become stiff and inflexible. It is amazing how fast you can lose range of motion. Stiffness leads to improper posture that can lead to muscle imbalance, which causes a lot of other problems. An example of a great flexibility program is yoga. I LOVE yoga! Flexibility exercises can be done daily and should be done at least 2-3 days per week. If you stretch just once a week, you will never progress, but always be just catching up. I could go on and on about this, but I will spare you until a later date.
Some days you may wake up and not feel like doing anything, let alone exercising. Maybe you feel achy, or you just don’t feel right. Those are the days you need to do something. Maybe it will be just a little stretching, or a short walk, but move your body in some way. The only time I can honestly say that I didn’t feel good after exercising was when I attended a vigorous yoga class at the onset of the flu. It was a little too much for my system, when I should have been resting. Other than that, I have ALWAYS felt great both physically and mentally after moving my body.
People of all ages and abilities, and sizes can exercise. Some may feel that their health is too compromised to be able to do any kind of exercise. They may be thinking “I’m too fat”, “I’m not flexible enough”, “my body is too achy”, “I don’t have enough energy,” or “I have bad knees.” and on and on. I want you to know that we can all do something! Exercises can be modified and diluted to fit your needs. I teach a class at the senior center in my community where I show them how to use a chair to support themselves while doing exercises and yoga poses. Despite their limitations, they do amazing things. I have seen them improve dramatically both physically and mentally!
Whatever you do, do not compare yourself to anyone else. Listen to your body. We all have different bodies, different lifestyles, and different experiences. If you have limitations, it is easy to become frustrated. Do not get discouraged, accept where you are at and enjoy what you CAN do. Each time you exercise you will feel different. One day you might have a lot of energy and on other days you may not. Adjust accordingly and do what feels good.
Mayo Clinic. com gives 7 basic benefits for exercise that I liked. It is simple and straight forward.
1. Exercise improves your mood.
2. Exercise combats chronic diseases.
3. Exercise helps you manage your weight.
4. Exercise strengthens your heart and lungs.
5. Exercise promotes better sleep.
6. Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life.
7. Exercise can be — gasp — fun!
Studies show exercise to not only help us physically but it helps us maintain mental fitness as well. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which in turn cause us to have what is commonly know as a “natural high” or a “runners high”.
Here are some of the Psychological Benefits of Exercise stated in an article by K. Cossaboon
- Physical activity is increasingly becoming part of the prescription for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Exercise alone is not a cure, but it does have a positive impact.
- Research has found that regular physical activity appears as effective as psychotherapy for treating mild to moderate depression. Therapists also report that patients who exercise regularly simply feel better and are less likely to overeat or abuse alcohol and drugs.
- Exercise can reduce anxiety – many studies have come to this conclusion. People who exercise report feeling less stressed or nervous. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise (exercise which requires oxygen, such as a step class, swimming, walking) can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
- Physical exercise helps to counteract the withdrawal, inactivity and feelings of hopelessness that characterize depression. Studies show that both aerobic and anaerobic exercise (exercise which does not require oxygen, such as weightlifting) have anti-depressive effects.
- Moods such as tension, fatigue, anger and vigor are all positively affected by exercise.
- Exercising can improve the way you perceive your physical condition, athletic abilities and body image. Enhanced self-esteem is another benefit.
- Last, but not least, exercise brings you into contact with other people in a non-clinical, positive environment. For the length of your walk or workout or aqua-fit class, you engage with people who share your interest in that activity.
I have been teaching yoga for many years and could go on and on about the benefits of exercise, and about the positive changes I have seen in my students, both physically and mentally.
Choose a form of exercise you enjoy!
- TREAD MILL
- ROLLER BLADE
- TAI CHI
- WATER AEROBICS
- KICK BOXING
- MINI TRAMP (REBOUNDING)
- POWER WALKING
- RACQUET BALL
Start today, CHOOSE to do something for yourself, no one can exercise for you. By exercising you will not only help yourself, but those you associate with and love will benefit, as you release stress, improve health and enjoy your life more fully!