Live Longer and Feel Better!

June 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Health and Fitness

By Cami Checketts 

We all get 24 hours in each day.  That’s 1440 minutes we have to spend.  It’s up to us what we do with each of them.  Many people say that they’re too busy to take a few of their 1440 minutes to do the very thing that will help them to live longer and feel better.  Are you one of them?

I’m talking about finding time to take care of your body.  As an exercise scientist, I'd be the first to tell you that you must take time for exercise because it will make a life-changing difference.  But you need to have a balance.  Make sure you're exercising effectively and that you're doing exercise that you enjoy. Also make sure that you're not over-exercising—thereby, missing out on other important things in life and/or causing over-use injuries.  Try to exercise because you want to take care of this wonderful gift you’ve been given, your physical body, and not just because you want to lose weight.  Research has shown that more of those who exercise to increase health benefits, rather than lose weight, stick with their exercise programs.  Here’s a list of some great reasons to include exercise in your twenty-four hours:

• Exercise helps you sleep better.  “With regular exercise your sleep      quality is improved and the transition between the cycles and phases   of sleep becomes smoother and more regular.” (i)
• Prevents all kinds of diseases–heart and lung problems, chronic     diseases, back pain, osteoporosis (increases bone density), breast     cancer and many more.
• Helps you manage your weight. You all knew this one, but it's a       goody!
• Increases strength and stamina. If you have young children like me     you’ll find this is a necessity.
• Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
• Improves digestion–helps you beat bloating and gas. Isn’t that nice!
• Tones and firms muscles–improves body composition (more muscle/less     fat), which also increases your metabolism and can help you burn more   fat all day long.
• Improves your mood so you have less depression and anxiety, and more    feel-good hormones. (ii)
• Improves language skills.  Exercise helps you learn faster, spurs new    growth in the brain, and helps memory. (iii)
• Supplies all-natural pain relief.  Stanford researcher, Bonnie Bruce,    found that exercise reduces pain by 25%.
• Causes you to be happier at work.  Exercise can help you check off     your to-do list with a positive attitude and miss work less due to     sickness, according to a study from the University of Bristol in the    United Kingdom. (iii)
• Improves self-confidence.  Exercise improves body image even if you     aren’t the size you want to be.
• Lowers dental bills–Moderate activity will make you 42% less likely     to suffer from gum disease.
• Increases your immunity.  For example, it can slash cold risk by 33%,    according to a University of Washington study. (iii)
• Can add years to your life.  “People who exercise can add three years    to their life, and their hearts reap benefits from something as     simple as brisk walking a half-hour a day, two studies suggest.” (iv)
• Gives instant energy.  I can attest to this one.  When I have an     afternoon choice of ice cream or a stroll outside I always feel     better if I take the walk.  Maybe I should try it more!

That's a pretty good list.  Hope it motivates you to get going and keep going.  Remember, you're not exercising just to lose weight (though that's a nice benefit); you're exercising to feel great and be healthy for life.  Make an effort to include exercise in your busy twenty-four hours and you will be more effective for all the other things you need to accomplish.

Cami Checketts is a wife, mother, exercise scientist, author, and chocolate addict.  Her third book, The Sister Pact, will be released in July 2009 by Cedar Fort Publications . Please refer to her blog – http://fitmommas.blogster.com – for fitness tips and daily strength training routines. © 2009
(i) “How Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better” by George Lesco http://www.fitness.com/articles/156/how_exercise_can_help_you_sleep_better.php
(ii) “Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms” by Mayo Clinic staff http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression-and-exercise/MH00043
(iii) “Sweat Yourself Smart: Exercise makes you sharper, happier, and healthier. Get ready to transform your life!” By Delia Cabe, Prevention http://health.msn.com/fitness/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100230702
(iv) “Exercise Can Add 3 Years to Life Expectancy.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10039577/

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