America's Energy Doctor
Fitness is so important to your health, energy, happiness, and longevity. Exercise helps keep your body, mind, and spirit in great shape, letting you live life with vitality, enthusiasm, and comfort. But, while any exercise is always better than none, the real benefits come from getting regular physical activity as part of your routine.
Before you begin an exercise regimen, please consult your doctor. This is particularly important if you’ve been pretty idle for a while, are overweight, have any health conditions, or are in your senior years. Exercise can cause potentially dangerous strain on your heart or injuries. Building up gradually to longer, more rigorous workouts is a key to a healthy exercise regimen.
Benefits of Consistent Exercise
Getting physical activity on a regular basis provides so many amazing benefits. To rattle off just some of the big ones, regular exercise:
- Reduces the risk of developing many health problems and diseases, including hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, numerous cancers, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cognitive decline, and others
- Helps with weight control
- Extends life expectancy
- Increases energy levels, strength, stamina, flexibility, and range of motion
- Boosts circulation (and with it, oxygenation and nutrient delivery)
- Promotes better sleep
- Improves mood
- Builds self-confidence
- Enhances memory and ability to concentrate
- Boosts sex drive and performance
- Combats stress, anxiety, and related physical, mental, and emotional symptoms
- Lessens certain types of chronic pain
- Increases productivity and stimulates creativity
- Provides practice setting and pursuing realistic goals
- Makes life happier and more fun!
Why Consistency Matters
Exercise provides a lot of short-term benefits that can quickly diminish if you don’t keep it up. If you revert to inactivity, you slowly lose the gains you’ve made. Your blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides can start to become elevated again; your stamina and energy begin dropping off; muscles atrophy; and all those other benefits mentioned above can be undone.
Also, consistency is essential to disease-prevention benefits. It’s only by being physically active on a regular, ongoing, long-term basis that you meaningfully reduce your risk of developing so many chronic and degenerative conditions.
It’s much the same as learning to make smart dietary choices rather than going on a diet. When you diet, you temporarily reduce calories. Then, when you stop dieting and go back to eating the way you were, you gain back any lost weight. But if, instead of dieting, you adopt permanent, sensible changes to the way you eat every day, you don’t have to diet and experience the weight loss roller coaster.
Make It a Routine!
The only way to keep up with your exercise on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis for the long run is to incorporate it into your lifestyle as a routine. On a fundamental level, we’re all creatures of habit, even the most spontaneous people. If you think about it, even being spontaneous is a habit.
This means scheduling your workouts. If you don’t schedule it in, you’ll probably fall into the trap that so many people fall into. You’ll never be able to find the time. Actually putting something on your schedule has enormous power to make it happen.
It also means planning the details of your fitness routine. Do this with your doctor or a trainer who can assist you in mapping out a comprehensive, effective, safe routine to go through over the week. Focus on different areas of your body at different times and give muscles the opportunity to rest in between workouts. Planning a routine ensures you get the most out of your regimen and minimize the chances of hurting yourself. Creating variety also helps keep you from getting bored with your workouts.
A routine lets you appreciate your progress, too. By regularly following a detailed plan, it’s easy to notice yourself hitting the next level, going at it a little longer and a little more intensely than before.