Every medical professional will tell you that exercise is important. In fact, getting enough exercise is vital to the health of our body. And, we do not realize that exercise is really as important as eating right. Too often, exercise is connected with losing weight. And, while exercise is an important part of weight loss, it is also an important part of our daily health. Therefore, regardless of your weight loss goals, exercise should be part of your lifestyle. How much exercise is the right amount of exercise to be healthy? Health experts say that 90 minutes of exercise a week is the optimal amount of exercise to remain healthy. For the average person, this means you could spend 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, exercising. Consistency of exercise leads to better results. (An intense weekend athletic activity, or constant working out each can cause damage.) For the vast majority of us the best form of exercise is something that we enjoy doing for a moderate amount of time on a regular basis.
What's Right for Me?
One of the biggest reasons people drop an exercise program is lack of interest: If what you're doing isn't fun, it's hard to keep it up. The good news is that there are tons of different sports and activities that you can try out to see which one inspires you.
When picking the right type of exercise, it can help to consider your workout personality. For example, do you like to work out alone and on your own schedule? If so, solo sports like biking or snowboarding may be for you. Or do you like the shared motivation and companionship that comes from being part of a team?
You also need to plan around practical considerations, such as whether your chosen activity is affordable and available to you. (Activities like horseback riding may be harder for people who live in cities, for example.) You'll also want to think about how much time you can set aside for your sport.
It's a good idea to talk to someone who understands the exercise, like a coach or fitness expert at a gym. He or she can get you started on a program that's right for you and your level of fitness.
Another thing to consider is whether any health conditions may affect how — and how much — you exercise. Doctors know that most people benefit from regular exercise, even those with disabilities or conditions like asthma. But if you have a health problem or other considerations (like being overweight or very out of shape), talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise plan. That way you can get information on which exercise programs are best and which to avoid.
Rewards and Benefits
Exercise benefits every part of the body, including the mind. Exercising causes the body to produce endorphins, chemicals that can help a person to feel more peaceful and happy. Exercise can help some people sleep better. It can also help some people who have mild depression and low self-esteem. Plus, exercise can give people a real sense of accomplishment and pride at having achieved a certain goal — like beating an old time in the 100-meter dash.
Exercising can help you look better. People who exercise burn more calories and look more toned than those who don't. In fact, exercise is one of the most important parts of keeping your body at a healthy weight.
Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases. Exercising to maintain a healthy weight decreases a person's risk of developing certain diseases, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases, which used to be found mostly in adults, are becoming more common in teens.
Exercise can help a person age well. This may not seem important now, but your body will thank you later. Women are especially prone to a condition called osteoporosis (a weakening of the bones) as they get older. Studies have found that weight-bearing exercise, like jumping, running or brisk walking, can help girls (and guys!) keep their bones strong.
The three components to a well-balanced exercise routine are: aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility training.
Aerobic exercise is any type of exercise that gets the heart pumping and quickens your breathing. When you give your heart this kind of workout regularly, it will get stronger and more efficient in delivering oxygen (in the form of oxygen-carrying blood cells) to all parts of your body.
The heart isn't the only muscle to benefit from regular exercise. Most of the other muscles in your body enjoy exercise, too. When you use your muscles and they become stronger, it allows you to be active for longer periods of time without getting worn out.
Strong muscles are also a plus because they actually help protect you when you exercise by supporting your joints and helping to prevent injuries. Muscle also burns more energy when a person's at rest than fat does, so building your muscles will help you burn more calories and maintain a healthy weight.
Strengthening the heart and other muscles isn't the only important goal of exercise. Exercise also helps the body stay flexible, meaning that your muscles and joints stretch and bend easily. People who are flexible can worry less about strained muscles and sprains.
Being flexible may also help improve a person's sports performance. Some activities, like dance or martial arts, obviously require great flexibility, but increased flexibility can also help people perform better at other sports, such as soccer or lacrosse.