In following the theme of this blog; "A Better You, to Grow Younger Every Day", I have compiled a list of steps/tips/pieces of advice that everyone can do to improve their lives. This list is based around the idea that not everyone is perfect, but if you try to fulfill the requirements on this list, you should become a much happier, healthier person.
So, the first in my list is exercise. For my usual readers, this first step is probably a no-brainer, as many of you probably live a life with plenty of exercise already. If not, I highly recommend you get your butt moving!
If you didn't already know, exercise is a tremendous tool to keep your body youthful and less prone to injury/illness. Although it plays a part in weight loss, what you eat (diet) really is the better tool to successfully lose weight and maintain a healthy body composition. (more on that in a future blog)
Exercise is so much more than that, however. It makes the cardiovascular system more effective/efficient, it improves cognition, it can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, it improves confidence, it makes the bones, muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues stronger. The list goes on and on!
One of the biggest problems with exercise, however, is there seems to be a vast discrepancy with some people as to what they believe exercise actually is. Gardening is not exercise. Walking your dog is not exercise. Walking through the mall is not exercise. Sure, all of those mentioned activities are great ways to get active, but they are certainly not exercise!
Exercise should be challenging, you should sweat, you should be breathing hard, and it most certainly should be raising your heart rate to a respectable level, that is when change happens.
You see, when you push your body outside of its comfort zone, into a place when it is struggling to 'keep up', that sends signals to your brain causing a cascade of hormonal releases throughout your body. These hormones are the ones that signal growth and improvement in your tissues.
Why is growth important?
Think of your body like a constant construction site. When you are a kid growing up, your body is growing, adapting, and changing. This is like springtime for your body, your bones, ligaments, muscles, and cells are all new and enjoying the swath of growth hormones. These growth hormones are like a brand new construction site, building, improving, and expanding.
Unfortunately, as we age, these 'growth' hormones begin to slow down. Your body, which was once a construction site of growth and improvement is now beginning a slow decay. Sure, there are little construction projects going on all over, but for the most part, decay is winning over the growth.
Exercise, and the subsequent flood of growth hormones caused by intense exercise, recruit a whole new construction crew to continue building your body and improving your body just like when you were a child. Healthy food is great in many ways, but it exercise that sends the signals to you brain and body that you are still growing and improving, and that, is the best way to stay young!
So here's the deal with my "Grow Younger Every Day Step 1"; exercise intensely 5-6 days a week. This does not need to be an all-day affair, as science has shown as little as 20 minutes of intense exercise a day makes monumental improvements, but make those 20 minutes count! In a future step, we will discuss what intensity really means, but for now, just focus on challenging yourself physically 5-6 days a week, no questions asked.
At this point in time, I really don't care how busy you are, nor does it really matter. All that matters is that you get active. Find the time to do something challenging. I am sure you find time to eat, and find time to go to the bathroom, and you probably even find time to shower and wash yourself. Well, consider exercise as one more piece of that puzzle needed to maintain your body - because it is.
This is outside of the fact that you should be as active as you possibly can (remember gardening and walking your dog?). In future posts, we will also discuss the need for recovery and 'downtime', but for now, get off you butt and get moving, and make it count!
Quote of the day:
circumstances, determines your success."