Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Benefits and Results of Exercise

    Maybe you are in the contemplation stage of starting an exercise routine; you think it’ll be good to start being healthier and you are ready to make the jump. Congratulations! Now, let me tell you why you should take the jump.

   Exercise has a ton of benefits that are short term and long term. Exercise also leads to immediate and lifelong results if you keep at it. Here are just a few short term benefits; you will sleep better. Have you noticed you’ve been tossing and turning or having trouble falling asleep? Well when you start exercising, you will start sleeping better and almost immediately, as in, within the first few days! You will have more energy. Not only are you now sleeping better, but exercise releases a ton of natural chemicals that help you facilitate energy better. You will WANT to eat healthier. Exercising helps you keep better control over bad decisions when it comes to what you eat. You won’t want to work so hard to be healthy just to put junk into your body. A long term benefit of that is you will lose craving for junk! A few other long term benefits of exercise are reduced risk for heart disease (the #1 cause of death in the United States!), as well as decrease your risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, and even mental issues and dementia as you age. Your memory will improve as well.

   Benefits are great, but I know most people chose to start exercising not only to be healthy but to look good, and that is when results come into play! Exercise will help you shed fat, tone your muscles, and feel great about yourself. Don’t get discouraged though if you don’t wake up after day 1 looking like Miranda Kerr. In general, it takes 4 weeks for friends and family to notice a change, 8 weeks for you to notice a difference, and 12 weeks for strangers to realize a difference. So don’t give up after the first few weeks! Not to mention, you should start an exercise program because you want to have a healthy lifestyle, not just look good. Long term benefits and results coincide; I dare you to make a doctor appointment for a physical and get a full blood work up done. Go back in 6 months for another physical and see how much you’ve lowered your lipid and cholesterol levels. I guarantee you, your doctor will give you a high five.

   So you’ve been exercising for a few months, you are looking and feeling good and then you hit a plateau. This is common! It is time to switch it up or increase the intensity. When you first started, maybe walking a few miles a week was enough to shed some pounds. Try jogging or interval training, incorporate strength training, try a new class at the gym. Don’t get discouraged, get innovative!

   There are very few reasons a person shouldn’t exercise, but if there is EVER a concern, talk to your doctor. They will lead you in the right direction.

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