Extolling the benefits of fitness
The Fitness Trail
As we approach 2015, it is a good time to remind ourselves about the long-term benefits of maintaining our fitness levels throughout life.
Most individuals know that exercising and being fit positively impact general health and quality of life. However, this knowledge does not necessarily translate into those individuals taking action to integrate fitness into their lives. Consequently, this week the benefits of fitness will be highlighted with the primary goal to encourage those who have not embraced fitness to do so and for those that have, to continue on the fitness path. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Improved cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory endurance. The ability of the body to extract oxygen from the outside atmosphere and transport it to the working muscles efficiently is positively impacted through performance of consistent cardiovascular endurance exercise.
For those with diabetes, regular exercise may help regulate insulin elements. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association in 2006, some experts indicate that insulin may need to be reduced by 10 percent to 50 percent when beginning an exercise program. We have several clients who have been able to reduce or completely eliminate medication under the supervision of their physician due to regular exercise and relevant dietary modifications.
Improved body composition (i.e. lean to fat ratio) occurs with regular exercise, both cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength training. An improved lean to fat ratio enables you to expend more calories, even at rest, as the metabolism increases due to an increase in muscle mass and the body moves through life with greater efficiency and effectiveness due to this increase in muscular strength.
Decreased risk of coronary heart disease (i.e. the leading cause of death in the United States for both males/females) and certain types of cancer may occur due to an improved fitness level.
Stress reduction is one of my favorite fitness benefits. The act of exercising may reduce stress and the action you take when choosing to exercise has tremendous emotional and psychological benefits. Taking control over aspects of life where possible is empowering and the more empowered we are, in general, the better our quality of life.
Reduced risk of injury, particularly through regular performance of muscular strength training. The stronger you are, the better your kinesthetic awareness, the better you move through your day physically and the less likely you are to injure yourself performing your daily round of activities.
Decreased risk of osteoporosis may occur through consistent performance of muscular strength training and other weight bearing exercise.
For those with hypertension, depending upon the root cause of the hypertension, properly supervised exercise programs may help to decrease elevated blood pressure levels and in some cases, may enable the exerciser to decrease or eliminate their blood pressure medications with their physician’s guidance/approval. Specifically those that reduce body weight, through regular exercise and proper dietary modifications, may find this to be the case.
The benefits of fitness far outweigh any downsides. If you have made the commitment to fitness for life, congratulations—keep it up! However, if you have not made this critical commitment to yourself, do it now and begin experiencing an amazing quality of life!
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness LLC in Granby. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at email@example.com and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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