Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cleaning Up Your Act With A Bit Of Exercise

Exercise - the word sends shutters down the spines of those who are looking for get-skinny-quick solutions, invoking visions of mind-numbing calisthenics such as sit-ups, chin-ups, push-ups and jumping jacks. Nothing fun, exciting or encouraging about that!  But like it or not, exercise is a key ingredient in a successful weight loss strategy, but luckily there are so many options that anyone should be able to find something that fits their needs.

But exercise goes way past just burning calories, and ultimately your goal should be "getting healthy" not just losing weight, as the two go hand-in-hand.  As you  start shedding pounds (the right way with proper diet and exercise) you will find that your energy levels will climb, age-old aches and pains will start to decrease, (possibly going away altogether) and you will get sick less often.   This in turn will give you more incentive to put more effort into your weight loss / get healthy program.

So on the surface, you can literally feel the effects of effective exercise, but interestingly there are a lot of things going on below the surface that you can't see, but which have just as much benefit as the more obvious outward effects.

An article by Gretchen Reynolds (NY Times) looks at research published in the journal Nature.  The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center suggests that exercise speeds the removal of icky stuff (physiological garbage) from the body's cells.  Long story short, if the body does not remove such cellular junk on a routine basis, it can cause cells to malfunction or die.  Many in the scientific community suspect that this in turn can contribute to the development of a range of illnesses including diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer and muscular dystrophy.

Though it's still being researched, the initial findings suggest that exercise can have a positive physical effect on attaining improved health. 

Thus, you need to find and embrace something that works for you.  For me, its 5 miles or more of walking per day.  I started out at 15 minutes on a treadmill over 5 years ago and have worked up to where I am today.  I can maintain speeds of up to 5 miles per hour for over an hour... but it didn't happen overnight.  It may not work for you and that's ok, but you have to find something you can do easily everyday so you don't fall into the chasm of "making excuses not to do it."

Good luck!

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