We all know that consistent exercise and physical activity have numerous benefits for our physical and mental health, but here is a quick review:
Physical activity is any movement that requires energy while exercise is intentional movement that tends to be planned, structured and/or repetitive. The purpose of exercise is to improve or maintain physical fitness. Physical activity is something we do every day and can include things like gardening, housework, and pushing the cart around the grocery store while exercise includes things like walking your dog, participating in a group exercise class, and running/walking on a treadmill. Since physical activity helps with our overall health and well-being and since exercise can help improve our physical fitness, it makes sense that the combination of both physical activity and exercise can have a greater impact on our health. So let’s talk about some ways to participate in more physical activity and exercise in our busy lives.
I think most of us can agree that getting going with exercise and being more physically active can be challenging. There is always something else that seems more important or is demanding our attention, which often involves being in front of a computer screen. However, I think we can also agree that we feel better after we exercise or are physically active and do not regret having spent the time on these activities.
Here are some ideas to try:
Here are some tips to help you get motivated to exercise:
Research has shown that people in their 30s can start to lose between 3-5% of their muscle mass each decade, and the rate of decline is higher after age 60. Even when a person is physically active, they will still have some muscle loss. Participating in strength training sessions 2-3 times each week where you exercise all your major muscle groups can help prevent this loss from occurring and can even help rebuild muscle. It is important to allow some time in between strength training workouts to allow your muscles time to repair and heal, ideally 2 days. As a person continually challenges the muscles with higher levels of resistance or weight, the muscle fibers sustain damage. The body then repairs damaged muscle fibers by fusing them, which increases the mass and size of the muscles (muscle hypertrophy). It takes a number of weeks or months of consistent strength training before muscle changes are apparent.
By maintaining or even adding to your muscle mass, you will burn more calories each day which can help with weight control. Muscle uses more energy than fat even while at rest. It is also important to make sure that you are eating enough protein in order to have the necessary building blocks to build muscle (amino acids). Aim for about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. To figure out how much protein you need divide your weight by 2.2.
Some ideas for starting strength training: