May 07

The Importance of Exercise

  1. Why Exercise?

There are many well-established reasons for someone to incorporate exercise into their overall health and wellness program.


  • Strengthens the cardio vascular system.
  • Helps flush toxins from the body. (Detoxification)
  • Builds muscle, which burns more calories than fat.
  • Helps to strengthen bones.
  • Stimulates insulin receptors on cells to improve glucose absorption.
  • Produces endorphins, neurotransmitters in the brain that help to produce positive mood.
  • Encourages food and waste to move through the digestive tract.       (Better metabolism)
  • Helps the body to maintain good balance, which helps older people to avoid falls and bone fractures.
  • Burns calories to help maintain a healthy weight.
  • Helps balance the body’s hormones, such as the stress hormone, cortisol, as well as other hormones.



  1. What type of exercise does the body need?

Most exercise specialists agree that there are four key types of exercise needed to optimize physical fitness and overall health.


  • Aerobic exercise – This type of exercise raises the heart rate and expands the lungs due to the strenuous nature of aerobic activities. Typical aerobic exercises include running, biking, swimming, tennis, basketball, trampoline, jumping rope and rollerblading.


  • Weight bearing exercise – This type of exercise includes activities, such as weight lifting, gymnastics, rock climbing, heavy gardening, swimming and calisthenics. The key is to work muscles to the point where they are nearly exhausted and will grow in size and strength.


  • Flexibility exercises – These exercises help the body to maintain a free and wide range of movement through controlled stretching. Typical flexibility exercises include yoga, Pilates, tai chi and stretching.


  • Core exercises – The core is our body from the hips to the chest. The muscles of the stomach and the small of the back are crucial to good posture, ease of movement, good bone structure and the protection of our spine and internal organs. Good core exercises include sit-ups, leg raises, controlled twisting, back exercises and balance ball exercises.


  1. Some Key Recommendations for Quality Exercising


  1. Safety – Always put safety first. Never do an exercise without considering

the risks involved.  Wearing the right equipment when rollerblading or biking is very important.  Having a partner with you is crucial when you are swimming in large or moving bodies of water or when lifting heavy weights.  Wearing reflective clothing after sunset is absolutely necessary.  No matter what the exercise, always ask the question, “What are the risks, and how can I ensure my safety?”


  1. Form – Always follow the proper form when doing any exercise.  Runners should observe the heel to toe technique.  Weight lifters should observe the directions on the equipment, in books or provided by instructors.  Proper posture is always a key consideration.  Over working your body can cause form to be compromised, which can lead to injuries.  And, finally, good form produces the best results, which helps to encourage us to continue with our exercise program.


  1. Variety – The body likes variety. Changing your routine periodically confuses the muscles, which actually helps them to perform better. That is why athletes use cross training when trying to reach higher levels of performance. Muscles need to be worked in many different directions in order to produce strength, flexibility and endurance. Variety is also a good strategy for maintaining your interest level to continue exercising.
  2. Consistency – The body appreciates it when it gets to work on a regular basis. A day of rest is good, at least one each week, but doing some serious exercise of at least thirty minutes every day is crucial for cardiovascular health, burning calories, building muscle and stimulating insulin receptors to burn glucose. Exercise should be a non-negotiable factor in our lives, just the same as good nutrition is.
  3. Good Nutrition – If we exercise without eating the right foods, we can actually do harm to our bodies. There are articles online with guidelines for good nutrition for people who exercise at every level from moderate to extreme. Some important factors are as follows:
    • Amino acids – The body needs protein to build new cells and repair damaged ones caused by exercising. Protein from any source, except red meat, is acceptable because red meat induces inflammation, it is difficulty to digest and causes cancer. Whey protein powder is also good.
    • B-vitamin – This group of vitamins is crucial for breaking amino acids down into useful nutrients for our cells. Good sources are nuts, whole grains, eggs, cheese, healthy meats and green vegetables. Supplements are also good.
    • Antioxidants – Vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin E are very important, as are all antioxidants. Exercising causes an increased production of free radicals within our cells by as much as 400%. These free radicals can damage our cells unless they are neutralized by antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables are good sources, but supplements are the only way to get the quantity of antioxidants needed by the body. Moderate exercising requires 12,000 mg of antioxidants per day, while heavy exercising, such as long distance running, may require 16,000 mg or more per day.
    • Vitamin C – This vitamin deserves special attention because it is crucial to the formation of connective tissue, such as collagen. Without sufficient levels of vitamin C, injuries are almost inevitable.
    • Completeness – All parts of the body need exercise. Just working the legs, the heart and the lungs is not good enough. Even the neck needs exercise so it can support our head and help maintain good posture. Working all body parts ensures good bone density everywhere, as well as good circulation and nerve transmission. Even the spine needs exercise, such as rebounding, because this is the only way that nutrients get pushed into our discs and waste gets pushed out. Our discs have no blood vessels of their own.D. Some Tips for Effective Exercising
  1. Try to consume some complex carbohydrates before exercising, such as

whole grain bread and almond butter, brown rice or nuts and seeds.  This will provide a slow and steady release of glucose for energy.


  1. Consume an antioxidant drink, such as Emergen-C, during exercise in order to get the necessary antioxidants to neutralize free radicals produced.


  1. Consume a whey protein drink within 30 minutes of completing your

exercise in order to have enough amino acids in the body to repair muscle cells.


  1. Get a physical exam prior to beginning any exercise program beyond walking, biking or other non-strenuous exercise.


  1. Stop exercising if you experience any pain.


  1. Usually slow and controlled movements are the best (especially weight lifting).


  1. Set goals in order to consistently strive for improvement.


  1. Do warm up and cool down exercises, such as stretching, to help prepare the muscles and allow them to recover properly.


  1. Remember your breathing and try not to hold your breath while exerting yourself, except while swimming, obviously.


  1. Pace yourself and don’t become obsessive. There is a danger in doing too much exercise or not resting at proper intervals. Listen to your body and it will usually tell you when you are doing too much.


Different Types of Exercise

At Home

Jumping Rope




Roller skating




Running in place

















Downhill Skiing

Cross-country Skiing



Mountain Climbing

Rock Climbing


Scuba Diving




Take a Class




Kick Boxing

Water Aerobics



Martial Arts


Tai Chi


At the Gym

Rowing Machine


Stationary Bicycle

Weight Room

Stair Machine


Calories Burned in 30 Minutes





Talking on the phone










Shooting baskets










Wheelchair basketball