Wednesday, May 10, 2017

16 Benefits of Your "Now Year" Fitness Plan

Everyone has their own reasons for making a decision to improve their quality of life through a fitness program.  And while most people are concerned with RELEASING weight and looking better, here is a list of many of the other important potential benefits that a balanced fitness program can provide:
Benefit #1 Release of Body Fat
Do you know that when you attempt to release weight by dieting alone, you end up losing some fat, but you can also lose much lean muscle and water?  Also, calorie restriction causes your body to slow down your basal metabolic rate, so as soon as you increase calorie intake again, the fat comes back on faster than ever.  A strategy built around sound nutrition and exercise can help you maximize fat release while maintaining or gaining valuable lean muscle.

Benefit #2 Weight Control
Unlike diets, a sound nutrition and exercise strategy can lead to a lifetime of stable weight, getting you off of the weight loss - weight gain roller coaster that comes with diets (think yo-yo).  A fad diet may get you back into those old pants again for a month, but a well thought out fitness lifestyle can keep you in them forever. Think lifestyle over dieting which tends to be short-term, fad driven and temporary.

Benefit #3 Increased Metabolism
Contrary to popular perception, a fast or slow metabolism is not a gift or curse you are given at birth.  It is easy to blame your metabolism for weight gain, but in reality, we are never the victims of our metabolism, rather we are the creators of our metabolism.  Your biology is your biography. You are what and when you eat. While calorie restricted diets literally destroy your metabolism, a properly designed exercise and nutrition plan can dramatically fire up your metabolism so you burn more calories all day, every day.

Benefit #4 Increased Muscular Strength and Endurance
Whether you participate in competitive sports, or just participate in activities of daily living such as carrying your child up and down the stairs or lifting the groceries out of the car trunk, increased strength will allow you to perform better. Ladies, you never need to worry about developing big, bulky muscles in order to see improvements in muscular strength and endurance. Work for strong over skinny, skinny follows strong (grit before gold).

Benefit #5 Increased Cardio-Respiratory Efficiency and Endurance
Do you get winded just going up a flight of stairs?  In less time than you think, a properly designed exercise regimen can deliver marked improvement in your endurance.  Research has repeatedly shown that a regular exercise routine can improve the performance of the cardio-respiratory system.  Do you realize that if you were able to reduce your resting heart rate by only 5 beats per minute; that translates into 7200 fewer times per day your heart needs to beat?  That is more than 50,000 fewer beats per week!  That is a lot less work that your heart will need to do. Hint: you can improve your cardio health with 30 minutes a day of high intensity work.

Benefit #6 Increased Bone, Ligament, and Tendon Strength
Resistance training and weight bearing exercise can strengthen the muscles, the skeletal system, and connective tissues as well.  This can greatly reduce your risk of injury and also helps you bounce back quicker from injuries.

Benefit #7 Increased Muscle Mass
Along with an improved physical appearance, increased muscle mass causes you to burn more calories throughout the day.  Muscle is metabolically active tissue and is the furnace in your body where fat is actually used for energy.  More muscle means faster metabolism and faster metabolism leads to a fitter life. When you are fitter you feel good and when you feel good you are fitter-it propels you forward.

Benefit #8 Reduction in Resting Blood Pressure
Did you know that high blood pressure increases the risk for coronary heart disease, and can cause heart attacks or strokes?  According to the American Heart Association, one in four adult Americans has high blood pressure, and nearly a third of them fail to realize it.  Of the 50 million sufferers, nearly half are women.  While medications are often warranted, lifestyle changes including improvements in nutrition and regular exercise are the real key elements in the control of blood pressure. The body has an amazing capacity to heal itself when acted on properly.

Benefit #9 Improvements in Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol, a fatty substance found in cells and blood, is necessary for many normal bodily functions. Unfortunately many people have cholesterol readings that are too high - 200 and above - putting them at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.  If you are overweight, losing body fat can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, and as little as thirty minutes of exercise on most days can help improve overall cholesterol levels.

Benefit #10 Decreased Risk of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes, where the body makes little or no insulin, is usually diagnosed in childhood.  Type 2 Diabetes, where the pancreas fails to make enough insulin to keep blood glucose at normal levels, usually occurs in adulthood and is far more common, making up about 90% of all cases of the disease.  Maintaining an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle are two of the main factors in preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.  

Benefit #11 Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and bone fragility, which leads to increased risk of fractures.  Men as well as women may suffer from it.  Studies have shown that resistance training and weight-bearing exercises are effective in increasing bone mineral density (also you should dump the carbonated drinks they can pull calcium out of the bones to buffer your blood pH leaving the bones fragile).

Benefit #12 Reduced Risk of Injury
As noted above, stronger muscles, bones, and connective tissue all contribute to reducing injuries.  But regular exercise can also bring on improvements in balance, proprioception, and muscle control that can help prevent slips and falls that could otherwise cause injuries.

Benefit #13 Improved Self-Esteem
There is truth in the saying "When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you look good"  The positive changes brought on by a structured exercise and supportive nutrition program are more than physical. Increased confidence, energy, and vitality are all benefits of a fitness lifestyle.

Benefit #14 Improved Posture
Whether it is behind a desk at work, behind the wheel of a car, or on the couch watching TV, we all spend a lot more time than we should on our butts. It is estimated the average person spends about 9 hours a day staring at tv and mobile devices. These positions can lead to lower back problems, weak and rounded shoulders, tight chest muscles, and a hunched over posture.  A properly designed exercise program can address these issues, and help undo the damage we unintentionally (or intentionally) do to our bodies all day long.

Benefit #15 Decreased Stress
Studies have shown that exercise can cause the brain to release endorphins and other neurotransmitters that actually help to improve your mood and leave you relaxed. Exercise is nature’s prosac (and beats prosac all the time in studies).

Benefit #16 Overall Improved  Health
The health benefits of exercise have been known for thousands of years, as evidenced by this quote:

"Speaking generally, all parts of the body which have a function, if used in moderation and exercised in labors to which each is accustomed, become healthy and well developed and age slowly.  But, if unused and left idle, they come liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly."

- Hippocrates 370BC