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Feeling Good Naturally! newsletter
January 31, 2013

The Benefits of Exercise

Benefits of Exercise.

It is almost February and time to be giving chocolates to the ones we love. If you haven’t tried Dan’s Chocolates, now is the perfect time. Check out all of the delicious things they offer. They have lots of delicious dark chocolate that is healthy chocolate. Check them out. Your Sweetie will thank you.

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Now, as we are nearing the end of January, I have one big question for you. How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?

Was one of your resolutions to exercise? Mine was. Isn’t it great how our bodies love exercise when we give them the chance? I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the benefits of exercise, and why we continually try to work time into our busy days to exercise.

So, on the mirror in my bathroom I have a sign, originally nicely typed, but now added to with scrawling hard writing, that says,

“Benefits of exercise:

  1. Reduces cholesterol (and high blood pressure)
  2. Increases Flexibility
  3. Increases Stamina
  4. Helps Lose Weight
  5. Improves Bone Density
  6. Strengthens Posture
  7. Prevents Cancer”

In years past my main motivation to exercise was for a firm and toned body. That is still a good motivation, but now that I have raised five children and have delicious, sweet grandchildren, the motivation for staying in shape has changed.

Now I realize that the things that I do with and to my body are the things that will influence the rest of my life – and although I am old, I hope to get a lot older, and to do it with health.

I want to be able to do the same things with my grandchildren that I did with my children. And I don’t want them to have to stop and wait for me repeatedly.

Just look at my list. Isn’t it amazing that exercise influences so many important things and that the benefits of exercise are seemingly unending!

And you don’t have to wait until you get old to start thinking about this. You should, ideally, consider all of these things while you are still in your teens. But anywhere along the road is a good place to jump in. And we need to realize that exercise alone is not going to keep us in tip top condition, our diet is an extremely important part of being healthy.

But as we have said many times, “No matter what your problem, exercise is part of the answer.” This can apply to the firm, toned body of youth to the perfectly working mechanisms of a senior citizen’s body.

My list of the benefits of exercise originally listed only the first four reasons, all things that are very important to me as I begin to put on a few years, but as I have continued to research and learn more about a healthy body, my list has almost doubled.

Important!! And because I have been exercising all along, most of these are benefits that I have earned and that I am enjoying now.

Many of the things on the list though, I am realizing, need continued work more than ever before, and if I don’t continue exercising, I will come to regret not making the correct decision.

Let’s look briefly at the new things on my list of benefits.

Bone Density. At about the age of 30 our bone mass peaks. Up to that time we are building our bones. Can you see the importance of a healthy diet when you are young instead of fad diets or fatty, fast food diets, or water and vitamin pill diets, or anorexia and other eating disorders?

After the age of 30 we need to work continuously to help our bodies produce new bone – otherwise we begin to have bone loss.

This is why older people develop osteoporosis. We don’t feel it coming on – it just happens if we aren’t doing what we need to do to prevent it.

Weight bearing exercise or weight lifting exercise is one of the best ways to keep our bones growing. These are exercises that cause our bones to bear weight – even our own body weight – so things like walking, tennis, dancing, jogging and jumping rope will work.

Things that are great for aerobic or other things but lack the weight bearing experience, such as riding bikes and swimming, don’t count as weight bearing or weight lifting exercise. Strength training using hand weights or other weight systems also work great.

Posture. I have a daughter-in-law that has the greatest, beautiful posture. My 5’3” squatty frame feels even squattier when I walk behind her 5’10” graceful body. But the truth is that we can all have, and all need to have good posture.

There have been many studies done that show that one of the benefits of exercise is helping with our posture. When our core is weak we are often prone to slouching. This leads, not only to looking sloppy, but also to pain.

One of the very common complaints caused by weak core muscles is low back pain. And the plain and simple truth is that if we strengthen our core, our low back pain will improve or disappear.

The American College of Sports Medicine as well as the American Heart Association suggest that all healthy adults should participate in core-strengthening exercises at least twice a week. We have pages and pages of core strengthening exercises on our website. Take a look at them and add some to your weekly exercise routine.

Cancer. I was surprised when I began to find articles that said that exercise may help prevent cancer! This is one of the benefits of exercise I hadn’t even realized. There were studies being conducted as early as the 1980s.

The Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise journal, in 2003, reported that “more than a hundred epidemiologic studies on the role of physical activity and cancer prevention have been published.”

They reported that physically active men and women have about a 30 to 40% reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer, compared with inactive persons! They also showed a reduction in breast cancer and endometrial cancer.

One of the benefits of exercise we do know is that exercise improves our immune system, and a healthy immune system fights off all kinds of things – including the growth of cancer cells.

Anyway, this is just one more push for you (and me) to keep on keeping on. We need to exercise until we die, so let’s just plan on it.

Our reward will be at least one more healthy day. Let’s do it.

Good luck, Nancy


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