What comes to mind when you are asked to name the most important part of your life? The one answer I rarely hear first; and the correct answer, in my opinion, is exercise, but why not? Obvious answers are family, friends, pets, or maybe even your job; however, I argue that you can’t enjoy the time with all those you love without putting exercise and your overall health as the priority.
Exercise is one of the most important aspects of life because without it you would not be able to live your life fully and experience everything you would like to with family and friends. I do realize that family and friends should come first over exercise; however, I am trying to make the point of how important exercise truly is!
About 600,000 people die of heart disease every year, which accounts for one out of every four deaths! That makes heart disease the number one cause of death in the United States. Think about that statistic for a minute and think about the fact that one out of every four people you know are likely to die from heart disease.
The leading risk factors for heart disease are:
- High Blood Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes
- Overweight and Obesity (Which 2/3 of our population now fall into!)
- Lack of Physical Activity
- Unhealthy Diet
These risk factors can all be be prevented or postponed with regular exercise and a relatively healthy diet. In clinical studies, exercise has been proven as a more effective treatment for many diseases than the common drugs people take.
So if that information doesn’t show why I believe exercise is the most important aspect of everyone’s life maybe this will. Exercise strengthens your heart, improves circulation, increases energy levels, increases endurance, decreases blood pressure, improves muscle tone and muscular strength, improves balance and flexibility, strengthens bones (osteoporosis), helps reduce weight and body fat, reduces stress, improves sleep, improves cognitive function, and increases self-esteem. All of these things sound important right? Think about all of these things and how many people you know that rely on medication on a day-to-day basis.
Sure some people seem to cheat the system and eat fast food and drink a six-pack while watching TV every night, all while maintaining a relatively clean bill of health, but these people are the minority. Most people who fall into these habits show high stress levels, low activity, and very high risk for heart disease. In order to maximize your life as well as your families life exercise is a crucial piece of the puzzle. If the word exercise makes you cringe then you are not alone. Many people are nervous, scared, and stressed when they hear the word exercise. New Year’s Resolutions come and go and within those first couple of weeks so does your exercise habits. However this should not be the case. Exercise should be fun and energizing; not something you dread everyday. In today’s world there is a modality of training for everyone. Whether it is yoga, boot camp, crossfit, running, biking, etc. the list can go on and on. The key is to find the modality you love and stick with it.
Here are 10 easy tips to start an exercise routine today!
- Find a friend: Every activity is more enjoyable when you have a friend or family member with the same goals as you.
- Start Slow: Fitness and exercise is not a race especially if you are brand new. Starting off by simply walking for 15 minutes, 3 days per week is a great start if you have not been doing anything previously.
- Be open to trying new things: With the various types of exercise modalities out there today try them all until you fall in love with one. Most gyms and studios would be more than happy to let you try a free class or give you a tour of their facility.
- Create realistic goals for yourself: Without having some sort of end goal such as lowering your blood pressure or running your first 5k then you will be more likely to skip workouts. Trying to set a goal every single morning when you wake up is a great way to stay motivated.
- Don’t stress if you miss one workout: In today’s world everyone has days where every single thing that could go wrong does. If that’s the case take a deep breathe and jump right back into things the following day.
- Listen to your body: Sometimes when we start a new exercise routine or working with a trainer or coach we have trouble crawling out of bed in the morning. If that’s the case sometimes it’s best to take an active recovery day and do things such as go for a walk, stretch, or foam roll.
- Eat better: Giving your body the proper nutrients will not only help fight off heart disease but it will also help with your performance and recovery.
- Get enough Sleep: Sleep is vital for recovery. Even during the most stressful, hectic days try and shoot for 6-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Hire a coach or professional: Many times the main reason people don’t exercise is the fear of looking stupid or not knowing what to do. If that’s the case shop around to find a trainer, coach, or instructor that fits your needs. If one doesn’t seem like a good fit simply thank them for their time and move on to another.
- Have Fun! : If exercising is not fun for you then it is not going to become an everyday part of your life. Find something that works for you!