Exercise: Can It Save Your Life?

We have all heard the saying, “Milk does the body good!” Well, “exercise does your body good almost instantly as well!”

The moment you head out for a run, launch into your spinning or Jazzercise class, or wake up to your yoga routine, the benefits of exercise kick in! Your heart rate and blood circulation increase and blood is delivered to your muscles more efficiently. As little as “30 minutes of cardio three to five days a week will add six years to your life,” according to research at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Aerobic (oxygen utilizing exercise, or “cardio”) in addition to strength or resistance training will help you live longer, look younger, feel energized, be self-confident, happy, and help you to stay slim and motivated to take on each new day…one day at a time!

Today, I am going to focus on strength training. I know the girls are wondering, “Is it only for men? I don’t want to get too big or bulky looking.”

Well, I have news for you!

Weight training has been shown to be extremely effective for both cardiovascular fitness and fat loss.  Studies have shown that it increases your metabolism to a higher level and keeps it there longer than traditional cardiovascular (elliptical) exercise.  The increased muscle (lean body mass) strength you develop has also been shown to protect your joints from injury and reduce joint pain (including low back pain). Your muscles will begin to rebuild themselves and repair the microscopic tears that come with lifting weights with proper nutrition, hydration and stretching. Make sure you cool down and stretch efficiently for at least 10 minutes. Drink 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost. Use the self-myofacial release as needed (foam roll) to get out the deep knots in your calves, hip flexors, adductors, etc. Don’t forget about the nutrition! Get a balanced meal within 30 minutes post exercise to refuel your glycogen stores and build muscle.

So jump into the gym or buy some free weights or resistance bands today to use at home, and you’ll zap calories for up to 38 hours! I suggest a morning workout, because the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain will be high, leaving you super alert and focused to start your workday off on the right foot! If you have the day off, then enjoy the flow of endorphins that leave you feeling psyched and energized and do something you love! Go get ‘em!