Importance of Exercise
The importance of exercise at the halftime of life cannot be emphasized enough. The lack of exercise will affect your quality of life, balance, overall health and even mental outlook. There are tremendous benefits associated with a plan that includes both movement and weight-bearing exercises. In this article, we will focus on four areas of exercise. My husband Greg’s perspective as a former professional athlete is especially insightful at the halftime of life and he joins me in the podcast episode. (see: Healthy Mindsets)
The first two areas are to start moving, then to develop a regular routine that is varied. Then the next two are the addition of a healthy diet and keeping track of your progress, changing your routine from time to time. These will keep you moving forward to not only increase your resilience, but increase your energy and stamina as well. I hope you are inspired to start or keep moving after going through all the four areas! Make sure you download the Nutritional Timing sheet here: Free Goal Setting Worksheets.
One: Start Moving
This is the toughest for many because getting started on any program takes a mindset shift. When you are comfortably sitting in a chair or reclining, getting up and moving takes deliberate action. This is especially tough if you are emotionally or physically tired. To start, focus primarily on the benefits of moving the body.
The importance of exercise done regularly prevents or delays illness, increases your energy levels and strength. It can also minimize chronic conditions, even holding those symptoms off to the last five years of your life instead of the last ten, fifteen or twenty years! * Exercise can lower your blood pressure and control diabetes, helping to maintain a healthy weight level. ** Without it, you risk sarcopenia, which is muscle loss.*** You will notice your loss of balance and your ability to even get out of a chair and step off a curb if you stop moving! (see article: Living with Intention)
Two: Develop a Regular Routine
Developing a regular routine is extremely helpful as we emphasize the importance of exercise. One of the easiest ways to do this is to get a plan and follow it. This can be from a trainer, an online program or even a printed guide. Yoga and Pilates are some of the best way to increase strength and flexibility, especially in your core.
There are three main areas of exercise you should include: Cardio, resistance and stretching. Cardio exercise is where you swim, jog, row or even walk at a quick pace. This will get your heart pumping and breath moving. You will want to push yourself to work. Resistance is extremely important, using weights or bands. Even small 2-5 pound weights are extremely effective in keeping your muscle tone. Stretching can be static, such as touching your toes and reaching side to side, or dynamic which is moving, then holding.
Three: The Addition of a Healthy Diet
Exercise alone doesn’t cause you to lose weight. It must be combined with diet. Your calories count. Don’t be tricked by low fat or low carb foods. The calories still add up!
My favorite type of diet is the Mediterranean diet which includes many natural fruits, vegetables and good fats. It includes avocados, whole nuts and other wonderful foods. There are many resources online where you can find out more. You should have some sort of protein before and after resistance training. This can even be a small protein drink. I add a little protein powder to my favorite juice and shake it up. Ideally, eating no carbs after 6P.M. will help keep your weight steady as your body will then burn fat while you sleep!
Four: Keep Track of Progress & Change Your Routine
Keeping track of your progress and routine will help you be consistent, which is one of the biggest clues to experiencing a change in your body. When COVID hit, I started increasing my walking but was not getting enough tough cardio that pushed my breath and my energy level. When I started working with an online trainer on a stationary bike, I noticed a difference, though it wasn’t easy to get back on that bike after some months! Sweating during a workout and the push that a trainer brings, similar to working with a coach on your business, will get you results much quicker. (See: What to Do When You Hit a Plateau)
Changing your routine is not only good for your body, but it will keep your mind engaged. Too much of the same thing can become boring and you will tend to not push your body like it needs pushed. The body is amazing in its ability to heal and get in shape. Find something that will work for you, then change routine from time to time.
Some ruts are non-productive, but a healthy rut is a management tool. It will help you move ahead on your goals and the rewards are great. (See: Online Training) You will feel better, have more energy, lose the weight you want or need to lose and even be more productive. I wish all those things for you!
* https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/staying-active-as-you-age ** http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/05/the-benefits-of-middle-age-fitness/?_r=3 *** https://www.seniors.com.au/funeral-insurance/discover/exercising-over-50
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