If you believe that you do not need to exercise because you look healthy as you are then it is likely that the inside of your body tells a different story!
When I refer to exercise I do not necessarily mean formal exercises in a gym or fitness club setting. I refer to any activity that gets you moving and pushes your body outside of its usual sedentary or relaxed state. This is a principle known as OVERLOAD. You overload a muscle when you encourage it to work harder than usual and this also applies to your heart muscle!
I am not about to overwhelm you with all the theory behind why you should exercise, but I am confident that you are reading this because you want to enhance your health. Health and vitality starts with your ability and willingness to use and improve your physical body.
I know that there will still be individuals reading this, believing that they don’t have time to exercise, or don’t really feel they need to, but this may be because a part of the brain is trying to hinder their efforts to improve their health! This is the same part of the brain that tells you that your exercise plan can wait until Monday, or that one more cake wont hurt! We all have coping strategies of some sort and look to justify choices we make, even though we know through basic logic that what we are saying to ourselves isn’t always the case! The trick is to learn to acknowledge when you are making excuses and to learn to ignore the voice of negativity! This is a hugely important element to making positive changes in any area of your life.
So let me just outline 3 areas to consider for your own personal exercise plan. You must consider your cardiovascular exercise (elevating your heart rate), muscular exercise (strengthening and toning your muscles) and flexibility exercises (improving your posture and range of motion around your joints). Each of these areas are very important and should be included in your exercise programme.
In this section I will be detailing cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is necessary for a number of reasons: Firstly, it improves the efficiency of your heart and lungs and enables your body to uptake and circulate greater amounts of oxygen. If your body is able to take in and circulate more oxygen then you are less likely to get out of breath so easily. You will be able to continue exercising for longer periods of time and your heart and lungs will generally be healthier. This is described as cardiovascular fitness.
If we overlook the obvious then there are more benefits to working at greater intensities. If we use a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is too easy and 10 is almost impossible then you should ideally exercise at a minimum of 7. At 7 it will be hard and you will sweat, but you should be able to sustain the intensity for a minimum of 20 minutes. When you exercise at this level, changes begin to take place in your body. Your body lays down more mitochondria in the muscles and the mitochondria are responsible for absorbing oxygen. To cut a long story short, your body will only use fat in the presence of oxygen, so the greater your body’s capability to use oxygen, the greater your capacity to burn fat!
There is another school of thought that suggests you should exercise at a difficulty of 6 out of 10, as this is the ‘fat burning zone’. Let me just explain this: you DO NOT burn more fat working at an intensity of 6 out of 10 than you do at an intensity of 7 out of 10! PERIOD! However, if you cannot sustain a minimum of 20 minutes at greater intensity then you should reduce your level of difficulty to achieve the duration. In my opinion this is the only time you should exercise at a lower intensity (other than warm ups and cool downs). Working at 6 out of 10 will NOT encourage your body to undergo change and become a fat burning machine!
That said, only work up to higher intensities as your health improves. You should be in this for the long haul, so don’t burn out in the first couple of days! Start with what you are capable of doing and aim to progress over time. Also, seek guidance from your physician if you have any health conditions or concerns.
In my next post, I will be outlining an approach for managing and improving your cardiovascular exercise and fitness. This will provide a workable guide for anyone who is ready to begin exercising TODAY, or who has been exercising and wishes to develop further.
Please be advised that when you exercise your body uses more oxygen and as a byproduct more free radicals are created within your body. Free radicals are volatile molecules, which attack and damage healthy cells in a process called oxidation (or free-radical damage). It is widely believed that we must ensure that we take in sufficient quantities of antioxidants (i.e. vitamins) to eliminate free radicals and safeguard our bodies against degenerative diseases. If you would like to learn more about high quality, pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplements then please visit http://www.usanainhealth.com/products/?page_id=7