Six reasons to include exercise into your day

By Ravinder Lilly
USANA ANZ Writer and Dietitian

Get moving - for your mind, body and wellbeing!
 How’s your exercise regime going? An essential part of losing weight and keeping it off is regular exercise. And, your body was human body was made to move.
Aiming for around 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week, or 150 minutes of moderate activity over five or more sessions each week, is recommended for good health. Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise helps to protect your heart and improve endurance, build fitness, strength and stamina. Strength training (working with weights) tones and builds muscle for a lean and shapely figure. Getting both types of exercise is ideal – it will burn calories and help you manage your weight. It can also lift your mood so you’re more focussed than ever to get into a healthy, happy weight

But, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, most of us are not moving as much as we should. More than seven out of ten of us don’t exercise enough. Here are just some of the reasons that you should move more!

Exercising regularly helps to:

1. Blast calories

You gain weight when you consume more calories than you use. Exercise is vital if you want to get lean and stay that way. But beware – unless your exercise is really intensive and you exercise for long enough, you may not be burning off as much as you think. For example, if you weigh around 60kg and you eat a 50g chocolate bar (270 calories) you’ll need to cycle at moderate pace for 35 minutes or walk for over an hour to burn it off! So, as well as burning off calories, thinking about what how much exercise you do and all those snacks and eats will help you to be more conscious about what you’re doing – and not be a distracted dieter!

2. Boost circulation

As you exercise, chemicals in working muscles produce substances that leave the muscle cells. These chemicals cause tiny capillaries (blood vessels) to dilate (widen) and this boosts blood flow which in turn brings more nourishing oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles. Better circulation helps to nourish your internal organs and skin cells, too, so you look better, too!

3. Support the muscles that support your joints

Regular exercise may help to slow down and even prevent problems with your muscles, joints and bones. Regular exercise helps to build and maintain strength and flexibility – important at every stage of life but especially as you get older.

4. Get in shape

Muscle and fat are two entirely different tissues and you can’t replace one with the other. But you can build muscle and reduce body fat with weight training and strengthening exercises.

Muscle burns more calories than fat because it is metabolically active i.e. it needs more fuel to exist rather than fat which is a storage material. Your body uses up fat stores when you exercise and build muscle. And, more muscle means more calories burned daily.

So, for every half a kilo of muscle you put on, you’ll automatically burn an extra 22 to 36 calories daily and you’ll have a sleeker, more shapelier shape.

Muscle and fat take up a different amount of space in your body, too. Take a look at 2.5kg of fat and 2.5kg muscle – when you have more fat, you can see clearly why you’ll have more wobbly bits!

You can target your problem areas – fat from around the exercising muscle is used for energy so you can firm up trouble areas. So if it’s your tummy that’s causing trouble, learn exercises that target your core.

Aim for strengthening exercises like weights at least twice per week for up to 30 minutes to slowly build up your body’s muscle. Oh and if you’re a woman, don’t worry that you’ll get too muscular by weight training – women don’t have enough testosterone to build as much muscle as men.

2.5kg of fat takes up much more space than 2.5kg of muscle

5. Perfect your posture, balance and coordination

Your posture is the way various parts of your body align in relation to one another. Good posture can help to prevent fatigue, headaches, eye strain, and chronic muscular tension. Getting your posture right can also help to boost circulation and even aid digestion. It might also help you sleep more soundly.

For good balance and coordination, you have to be able to control a number of muscles in order to prevent falling over. So, building your muscle strength leads to better balance and may even help to prevent injuries as with age.

6. Feel good about yourself!

According to the Black Dog Institute: ‘Numerous studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who do not exercise regularly’. Also, ‘Several trials have shown that regular exercise of moderate intensity can be an effective treatment by itself for mild-to-moderate depression.’ That’s because exercise boosts the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and feel-good chemicals which in turn helps to boost your mood . And as regular exercise helps to tone and shape your body, you’ll have more reasons to feel good about yourself!

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days. Weight bearing exercise boosts your bone health as well as training your heart and lungs to be stronger. Swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise if you have a lot to lose or have stiff joints.

Include three sessions of strength training. The ultimate in sculpting your body, this flab fighter builds muscle and burns fat so you have a sculpted, leaner look. Plus, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism – i.e. the faster you burn calories.

So go on, get moving!

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