Why Exercise? Why Not?!

Make exercise a priority. You'll feel better.

By FamilyTime


Many of us avoid exercise. It’s simply not a priority.

Sure, we may join a gym, break out the running shoes, and buy free weights, but in the end, it’s hard to find time to take a run around the block, much less get to the gym.

Does it really matter? We chase our kids around all day. Isn’t that exercise enough? We watch what we eat. Isn’t that a good way to keep weight under control?

Both answers are yes. Both also are no.

Everyone needs to get up and move, and women tend to lag behind men when it comes to getting in enough hours of exercise every week. This isn’t good. Women (and men) need to exercise for good health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that federal guidelines for adults are two and a half hours a week of physical activity. Men are more apt to fulfill this requirement than women.

How Does Exercise Help Women?

Most people know that exercise can help prevent heart disease, control type 2 diabetes, and ease arthritic joints. It also contributes to lowering blood pressure, reducing “bad” cholesterol, and keeping off the pounds.

Overweight Americans are more at risk for certain cancers than others. Exercise is always part of a weight-loss regimen and therefore helps fight these cancers, whether you are obese or not. Evidence is mounting that one of these is breast cancer.

What Should Women Do?

Regardless of their age, women should get moving. Both aerobic exercise and weight training keep our bones strong. Given that women start losing bone mass around age 30, this is good news. Not only does exercise ward off osteoporosis, it reduces our risk of fracture and contributes to lifelong good posture.

Yoga and Pilates are excellent ways to insure good posture, flexibility, and some level of serenity. Since all forms of exercise help us feel relaxed, less stressful and less anxious, adding one of these disciplines to your weekly routine only increases a positive sense of self.

We should all participate in some sort of weight bearing movement, such as walking or running (outdoors or at the gym).

Exercise that increases our heart rate is essential. If your joints are stiff or sore, consider swimming, which is great for the heart and easy on the knees and hips! Any physical movement sustained for at least 30 minutes strengthens the heart, but to benefit, your heart rate must rise. (A gentle amble down the street doesn’t do much.)

Lifting weights is also recommended for just about everyone. You won’t become super muscular unless lifting becomes an obsession. Moderate weight training makes you feel and look better without causing bulging biceps. And you will quickly notice an increase of strength.

Don’t Want to Exercise?

There is no magic bullet when it comes to exercise, but honestly, once you start, you will enjoy it. You may never become a gym rat or run in marathons, but your body will feel better, your mind will work better, and you will look forward to your workouts.

Start by walking. Ride a bike a few miles several times a week. Take a dance class. Join a Zumba class or take kickboxing. Sign up for yoga. Swim at the Y.

Exercise at a time of day you feel comfortable. Just because your best friend gets up to row on a river at 6 a.m. doesn’t mean you have to join her. You might prefer a rigorous afternoon walk or an evening swim.

As the ad says: Just do it! You’ll be both happier and healthier. And may live longer, too.