Who goes to sleep with great anticipation for the morning to come so they can go to gym?
Physical exercise takes a lot of discipline, even the keenest gym bunny has a difficult time now and again. It’s no surprise because our bodies are always looking for the path of least resistance.
In 2002 The World Health Organisation (WHO) elected 10 May as ‘World Move for Health Day’.This annual event aims to encourage and promote physical activity as an important part of a healthy lifestyle and total well-being.
There is more to exercise than weight loss. But before I give you reasons to get moving, let me tell you about the different types of training and their benefits.
Although there are different methods to categorise physical activity, I like to put exercise under 3 basic categories
- Endurance Training
This type of physical activity increases the heart rate and can improve lung capacity. What this means is that your heart and lungs will have a greater ability to transport oxygen to the body. More oxygen circulating=> healthy body=> improved quality of life.
Other health benefits from endurance training include the following:
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Reduction of body fat
- Improves overall fitness
- Decrease of the bad cholesterol
The good thing about this type of exercise is that you do not need gym membership to do it. Fast walking, running cycling, swimming, playing soccer or dancing are all examples of endurance activities
Did you now that strength training burns more calories than endurance (aerobic) exercise? Muscle tissue is very active and as such lean tissue means higher metabolism which equates to more fat burning.
Strength training strengthens our muscles and other connective tissue i.e. ligaments, tendons and this helps to prevent injuries.
Many women avoid strength training in fear of getting ‘bulky’ but this is not based on fact. Strength training is highly recommended for women because it strengthens bone density which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improved quality of life: because we use muscles for almost every activity in our lives, stronger muscles mean we are able to do our daily tasks much easier and efficiently.
- Management of Chronic Conditions: signs and symptoms of arthritis, obesity, heart diseases, diabetes and even depression can be reduced by strength training.
Many activities that strengthen our muscles can be done in the gym and at home. Here are a few examples: training using weights (dumbbells, kettle bells), stretch bands and also body weight when doing sit ups, squats.
It is unfortunate that a lot of people do not pay attention to this type of training yet it is a vital part of a well-rounded exercise routine (it’s also my favourite).
Flexibility training will help you to restore full range of movement to the joints after training and help increase length and flexibility the muscles.
- Reduced risk of injury to joints, muscles and tendons
- Reduced muscular pain
- Increased range of motion
- Reduced muscle tension
- Improved posture and balance
With benefits like these, flexibility training should be an integral part of your training routine not an afterthought.
Exercises to improve flexibility include Pilates (my favourite), yoga, tai chi and callanetics to name a few.
This is just a broad category that I use as a point of departure, there are more exercises within each category so there is no reason not to ‘Move for health” every day. There is no doubt that the benefits of physical activity far outweigh the temporary pain.
Personally, I do not like exercise that much but once I get my butt out of the door, I do not regret the hour or two I spend at the gym. My current gym schedule looks like this
Monday: 1 hour Pilates
Tuesday: 30 min Swimming
Thurs: 30 min Swimming
1h30 Pilates with weights
Saturday: I alternate between 5km Park Run or 5-10km Hike or 1Hr Pilates.
I have had to make changes to my routine since getting chemotherapy ( whose side effects include weakening of muscles) and surgery (which is still healing and is very sensitive to fast movements).I chose Pilates because despite it being low impact, it is powerful in strengthening the muscles, improving posture and balance. I am also hoping that swimming will help my arm heal and improve its range of motion. I can’t wait to get back to weight and to building a bit of muscle.
Of course you don’t need 2hrs in the gym to reap the benefits. All you need is 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. The key is consistency.The internet is full of easy no equipment workouts which suit beginners to advanced individuals. Try this combination which you can do at home in 30 minutes.I love that that it’s a total body workout that combines cardio and strength training too.
Get away from the couch, TV and computer and take a BRISK walk. Pick up skipping rope and jump on the spot for a few minutes and mix that up with couple easy exercises for effect. Play ball with your children-anything really to get you heart racing and your lungs working a little more for about 30 minutes is all you need.
On this Move for Health Day, make a decision to take care of your body because it’s the only one you have.