Living Healthy and Happy: How Much Do You Need to Exercise

Ahhh exercise...the one thing I get a million questions on.  Many people believe exercise and more exercise is the key to being a healthy weight. This is why I am sharing the picture above. Physical activity is such a small piece of the pie. It is necessary but it is not the end-all-be-all. It truly is about eating the right kind of foods and physical activity is just a little extra insurance policy. 

When it come to physical activity, I think many people picture running on a treadmill for an hour each day or elliptical. Or they picture going to a gym with really thin and beautiful people who really don't need to exercise. It is not appealing to anyone, so most people put it off because it is intimidating AND because people just do not have time. (Oh and by the way, everyone has time).

So if exercise is only 10% of the big picture why do you need to do it?  Exercise does a lot of behind the scenes things for your body. First, it strengthens your most important muscle:  your heart, especially cardiovascular exercise.  Strength training exercise helps build and maintain your muscle mass. Your muscle mass is the #1 thing you need to burn calories efficiently and maintain a healthy metabolism.  Muscle mass naturally depletes with age, hence why you need strength training to continue to maintain and rebuild. 

Besides all of those groovy things, exercise helps decrease stress and stress producing hormones, regulate  sleeping patterns and also helps regulate digestion. Why wouldn't you want to find your inner zen and sleep like a baby? 

What do you need to do?  

1. Think consistency. What can you do weekly that you will do?  How many days and what kind of routine?  If you are not consistent, then it is not going to work. I recommend a minimum of 3 times a week. Pick those 3 days that you know you can make it work and stick to it. 

2. Physical activity that is part of your daily routine, that you do everyday (work, walking the dog, etc) does not count. Sorry, your body adjusts. 

3. I recommend 1/3 of your exercise be cardiovascular and 2/3 of your routine to be strength training. I do not recommend being a gerbal on a wheel. Strength training transforms your body and keeps your muscle mass stable. Cardio keeps your heart healthy. Make sure to do both.

4. You need to eat enough calories to fuel your exercise. So do not skip meals or snacks because you're trying to lose weight faster. It actually has the adverse effect. You lose muscle mass if you don't eat enough. You also do not want to be exhausted when you attempt your workouts. So don't starve yourself!!!! You need to eat to live! 

5. Consult a professional if you need help getting started. They know the science and the mechanics of how to make exercise work for you and your body type. 

Now get out there and get moving!!!

For more information on how to start living YOUR healthy life and discuss an individualized plan for you, call or email me at 515.285.7266 | acundiff@hy-vee.com