Participation in regular physical activity does more than just lead to weight loss. Most people start a physical training regimen to lose weight. However, when the program fails to show “results,” people become discouraged and no longer have time for physical activity. Rather than focus on what we can lose with exercise, let’s start to think about what we can gain with exercise.
Inactivity has become a nationwide problem. Only 45% of adults in the United states achieve the minimum requirements of physical activity a day. The recommended amount of daily activity set by the ACSM requires 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (a brisk walk) at least 5 days a week. By participating in the minimum amount of daily activity, we may not see serious weight loss or bulging muscles. But we can gain some serious health benefits, such as reducing your risk of heart attack by 50%, along with reducing risk of hypertension, diabetes, and colon cancer by 30%.
Most people are interested in instant gratification, but the next time you exercise, forget about what you want to look like in the mirror and think of all the good things you just did for your body. Stay positive and keep chipping away at your goals.
Short-term effects of exercise:
- Reduced stress levels
- Increase in self esteem
- Healthier bones, joints, and muscles
- Increase of blood flow to the brain
- Increase blood flow to the active muscles
- Increased insulin sensitivity and blood glucose metabolism
Long-term effects of exercise:
- Increase in bone density and strength
- Decrease in resting heart rate
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Decreased risk of coronary artery disease
- Increase in lean body mass
- Increase in HDL cholesterol
Cliché a day: Lifestyle change is a marathon, not a sprint