Exercise: Why You Should Do It (dumbbells & brisk walking)
By: Aaron Potts
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Okay, so you've determined that you aren't exactly Olympic athlete material. So what? You don't even like sports, let alone being very good at them. That's fine, and there is nothing wrong with that. So what about fat? Do you like bodyfat? Do you find it physically appealing? Do you think it's healthy? If so, we're done speaking. Go on about your business, and thanks for reading this far.
For everyone else, here is a newsflash: In America today - the year 2004 - obesity related health conditions account for more deaths in the United States each year than all known forms of cancer COMBINED. Heart Disease alone is the number one killer of American adults, and it is a PREVENTABLE CONDITION!
How about self-esteem? 64% of Americans are overweight. That is almost two-thirds of the population. If you think that a figure like that and the skyrocketing sales of prescription anti-depressants aren't related, you now have a second opportunity to stop reading this article and continue on with your day.
Here is the bottom line, folks: Exercise and a reasonable nutrition program are necessary for ALL people, for their ENTIRE lives. Note, however, that I said "exercise", and that I also said "reasonable nutrition program". At no point did I say anything about spending 2 hours per day at the gym, or about eating nothing but carrots and celery for the rest of your life. Why? Those practices are just as ineffective at long-term weight loss as diet pills and late night infomercial products. Here is what DOES work:
Weight/Resistance Training - Weight training for both men and women has the same effect - it makes your muscles more metabolically active. In simpler terms, it means your muscles will burn more calories - even when you are sleeping. Muscle is the only site on your body where bodyfat is broken down. Weak muscles = weak metabolism. Weak metabolism = slow calorie burning.
Cardiovascular Training - Contrary to popular belief, this type of training is meant to help your cardio-respiratory system function more effectively, and ultimately to last longer. Does it burn a lot of calories? Sure it does. However, if you don't combine it with resistance training and supportive nutrition, you'll likely just burn off water weight and the muscle tissue that you worked so hard for up in step number 1.
Reasonable Nutrition Program - Quality sources of complex and fibrous carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and lean sources of protein. Eat those nutrients in reasonable proportions frequently throughout your day, and your metabolism (refer again to #1) will crank up to high, and you'll be burning more calories on a day to day basis than you ever have before in your life.
So far we have seen that not only can exercise keep us out of a nursing home, but it can also keep off excess levels of bodyfat which will - literally - keep us alive. We haven't even touched on sports performance, recreational activities, improved energy levels, ability to focus, or many of the other benefits of a regular exercise program.
Personally, I'd be happy with just staying out of a nursing home, and staying alive long enough to look good in a bathing suit. What about you?
Aaron Potts is the owner and creator of Fitness Destinations. Aaron's experience in the health and fitness industry includes one on one personal training in many different environments, maintenance of several health-related websites, and authoring of many fitness-related products for consumers and fitness professionals. http://www.fitnessdestinations.com/journal.html