Weight Watchers Get Healthy Freestyle Journey – Week 12
Health Benefits of Exercise
It’s time once again to reflect on the past week. Recently, we looked at milestones, how to stay motivated, the smart use of free foods, some tactics for dining out, surviving the holidays while dieting, the benefits of a 5% weight loss and diabetes. Each week as I’ve explored these topics and shared them with you I’ve gained new skills to be successful on my WW Freestyle journey. This week I am looking at understanding both the physical and mental health benefits of being active. The first thing I want to do is define what exercise is. Exercise is any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn calories. There are many types of physical activity, aka. exercise, including swimming, cycling, running, jogging, walking, basketball, and dancing, are some just to name a few. Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally, and may even help you live longer.
Health Benefits of Exercise
How much should the average adult exercise every day?
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn OR 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, like running and dancing. The CDC also recommends that you do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. I know, this sounds like a lot! Especially, for those of us who have been leading a sedentary lifestyle. The good news is we don’t have to do the two and a half hours at one time. As long as we’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time we can spread it throughout the week.
Regular exercise is one of the best things we can do for our health. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex, or physical ability.
According to healthline.com the top 10 benefits regular exercise has on your body and brain are
- It Can Make You Feel Happier. – Exercising regularly can improve your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- It Can Help With Weight Loss. – Exercise is crucial to supporting a fast metabolism and burning more calories per day. It also helps you maintain your muscle mass and weight loss.
- It Is Good for Your Muscles and Bones. – Physical activity helps you build muscles and strong bones. It may also help prevent osteoporosis.
- It Can Increase Your Energy Levels. – Engaging in regular physical activity can increase your energy levels. This is true even in people with persistent fatigue and those suffering from serious illnesses.
- It Can Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease. – Daily physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease.
- It Can Help Skin Health. – Moderate exercise can provide antioxidant protection and promote blood flow, which can protect your skin and delay signs of aging.
- It Can Help Your Brain Health and Memory. – Regular exercise improves blood flow to the brain and helps brain health and memory. Among older adults, it can help protect mental function.
- It Can Help With Relaxation and Sleep Quality. – Regular physical activity, regardless of whether it is aerobic or a combination of aerobic and resistance training, can help you sleep better and feel more energized during the day.
- It Can Reduce Pain. – Exercise has favorable effects on the pain that’s associated with various conditions. It can also increase pain tolerance.
- It Can Promote a Better Sex Life. – Exercise can help improve sexual desire, function, and performance in men and women. It can also help decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction in men.
Make exercise a part of your regular routine
You can make your everyday activities more active by making just a few changes in your daily routine. Some great ways to raise your activity level is by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking down the hall to a coworker’s office instead of phoning or sending an email, standing and stretching during TV commercials, and parking further away from the entrance when shopping. Chores such as house cleaning, washing the car, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and gardening also count.
Be Active at Any Size
Physical activity may seem hard if you’re overweight. Choosing physical activities that match your fitness level and health goals can help you stay motivated and keep you from getting hurt. You may get short of breath or tired quickly and may not feel comfortable working out in front of others. Start with 10 minutes of activity 3 days per week of any moderate-intensity activity that you enjoy. As you gain more strength and endurance, you can build up to the recommended 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. Once you achieve that goal, if you do even more activity, you may gain even more health benefits.
Mental Health Benefits.
Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. It is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.
Working out, especially between age 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning. While exercise and a healthy diet can’t “cure” Alzheimer’s, it may help improve memory and thinking in people with mild cognitive impairment, which often begins after age 45.
Create a plan that sets a specific day, time, and place to exercise.
How my freestyle weight loss week went:
Monday was spent working on the blog and cleaning house. After that this week was a busy one with appointments that kept me on the road all day every day. Since I have big plans for my future me, I put down the chocolate bunneyettes (remember they showed up last week) and picked up a rake and shovel every chance I got. With all the appointments and gardening, the week seemed to fly by and before I knew it was Sunday evening and the moment of truth was here. After eating several fast food meals on the go and my slip up with the chocolate this week, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got on the scale for my weekly weigh-in. I was pleased to find that I had lost 3/4 of a pound! Not a big number as it isn’t even a whole pound but I told myself that at least I’m still heading in the right direction. Until next week… Remember to stay positive and keep looking forward.
Where are you?
Where are you on your journey? What is your favorite exercise? What is the biggest reason you exercise?
Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook fan page.
I am not a medical professional. The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.