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Body In Motion

What feelings do you experience when the word 'exercise' is mentioned? Do you feel dread and break out in a sweat or are you excited about the topic? Most people have an opinion about exercise, whether positive or negative. Regardless of what it means to you, we all need some form of exercise. Our bodies need to move for better health. So let's explore why we need it and how we can get it without causing too much consternation for those of us who cringe at the word! Let's get physical... Ready, Set, GO!

Exercise for health! It is necessary for our muscles and bones as well as puts us in a good mood...hopefully. Exercise guards against diseases of the heart, type 2 diabetes, and cancer to name a few. That in and of itself is enough to get us moving. It helps our circulation, reduces stress and strengthens our immune system. Exercise lowers your blood sugar, your cholesterol and it improves sleep. It also helps us manage our weight and gives us more energy. All positives!

One thing to keep in mind: exercise cannot overcome poor diet choices. You can add all the exercise you like, but you must incorporate healthy eating habits if you wish to gain better health. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle are necessary for good health. We've mentioned a few benefits of exercise already. So do it for your health. Like with food, we need to take care of our body so it will take care of us as we age. If we neglect it now, we will pay a price later.

When it comes to exercise, do what works for you! If you hate running, don't run! Do you like being outside in inclement weather? If not, you may want to choose an exercise routine that is indoors, whether it's at a gym or in your spare room. Do you have a treadmill or an elliptical machine you can use during the winter? YouTube is a great resource for exercise videos. You can choose the routine you like and do it in the comfort of your home. Maybe you need to leave the house to get motivated? Find an exercise buddy and do it together. You can motivate one another and that will give you accountability. Hiking, biking, walking, running, swimming at the YMCA or joining an exercise class, there are many to choose from. Are you a multitasker? Take the dog for a brisk walk for both of you. Get your friends to exercise with you so you can get a social visit in while you workout! The very best exercise for you is the one you will stick with. Do what you enjoy! The objective is to move more for better health.

Aerobic, balance training, flexibility, and strength training are basic types of exercise. They all offer important benefits for our bodies.

Aerobics gets your heart rate up which is great for endurance. Brisk walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, or step aerobics all qualify, just be sure to get your heart rate up! Balance training helps you to be steady on your feet which can help prevent falls. There are a lot of senior centers and gyms that offer balance classes, like tai chi for instance. Stretching your muscles and tendons gives them flexibility, which we lose as we age, maybe try a Pilates class for that. Finally, strength training, which makes our muscles stronger, helps our backs and joints, strengthens our bones and helps with balance as well! Use your body by doing lunges, squats and push-ups or adding some resistance using bands, a weight machine or free weights.

The possibilities to incorporate exercise into our lives is endless. First, set a goal. What do you want to accomplish? It can be as simple as adding 30 minutes a day to better health. Start small and add to it later. Maybe start with a goal of 30 minutes 3 times a week. You can always go up from there. Whatever you decide, make it fit your lifestyle and time. If you don't, you won't stick with it. Make a plan and schedule it to make sure it happens. If you change nothing, nothing will change...

Focus on the journey, not the end result. Things can come up that might delay our goals, an injury for example. We need to be in the moment and enjoy it for what it is. You are doing something great for your health! Find the positives, for example: time spent with a friend while exercising or meeting new people along the way. Enjoying the beautiful weather or the way your body feels after pushing it to new limits! Even chores count! Just get moving.

Set goals, and don't forget to check in now and then to see how you're doing. Budget your time. Mix up your routine if you aren't enjoying it or it's not working for some reason. Be motivated! Determine that you are going to do this! Don't quit, commit! Focus on this one thing and do it! You will be glad tomorrow for what you are committing to today! You don't conquer an Everest until you conquer a 1000 little hills before then. As with any new routine, check with your health professional before beginning! Celebrate your benchmarks! Reward yourself! Get a massage to help your body relax after putting it through a vigorous work out! You are worth it!


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