Steady Run PH: Why you must exercise for healthy living – Mary Onyali
*Best form of weight control remains exercise
Exercise is as important as food. If food is really necessary to live so is exercise. Besides, if you find the key to make your exercise fun, then, you are the leader. Learn how to squeeze fitness into your busy day anytime anywhere. You cannot afford to miss this out.
One question I want us to quickly address is, why do we need exercise? From my athlete background, I have tried to pick only three key reasons which are:
- Exercise controls weight. Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. Excess weight is dangerous to anyone.
- Exercise combats health conditions and diseases. Most humans have been careless over time and their bodies have developed dis-eases and health conditions. You can actually use exercise to help the body regenerate itself to a near health state.
- Exercise improves mood. Need an emotional lift? Exercise has been proven over and again to boost energy.
Let me state it clearly without mincing words that the benefits of regular exercise are unrivalled: Physical activity can help you lose weight and prevent a host of ailments, including heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Being fit also can help you stay mentally sharp.
While most people know they should exercise, you may not know where to start or how to fit it into a busy schedule. Healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity spread out over five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on each of three days a week.
An ideal fitness routine also includes resistance or weight training to improve muscle strength and endurance. I recommend that most adults engage in resistance training, at least, twice a week.
10 Ways to get exercise
Sometimes the problem isn’t motivation — it’s simply finding the time. But scheduling exercise isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are 10 ways to get you moving more often. Don’t wait for anybody to motivate you. You actually don’t need motivation to exercise. Or do you need motivation to eat?
- Be less efficient. People typically try to think of ways to make daily tasks easier. But if we make them harder, we can get more exercise. Bring in the files, load, provisions and foods you buy on the way to work from your car. One bag at a time so you have to make several trips. Put the laundry away a few items at a time, rather than carrying it up in a basket.
- Shun labour-saving devices. Wash the car by hand rather than taking it to the car wash. It takes about an hour and a half to do a good job, and in the meantime you’ve gotten great exercise, because you will sweat and have made every cell in your body to become active.
- Going somewhere? Take the long way. Walking up or down a few flights of stairs each day can be good for your heart. Most of the times, run through the stairs. Avoid the elevators and escalators whenever possible. If you ride the bus or subway to work, get off a stop before your office and walk the extra distance. When you go to the mall or the supermarket, park furthest from the entrance, not as close to it as you can and you’ll get a few extra minutes of walking — one of the best exercises there is is walking. Walking is great because anyone can do it and you don’t need any special equipment other than a properly fitting pair of sneakers.
- Be a morning person. Studies show that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with it. Are you going to feel like exercising at the end of a hard day? Probably not. If you do your workout in the morning, you’re not only more likely to do it, but you’ll also set a positive tone for the day.”
- Ink the deal. Whether morning, afternoon, or evening, pick the time that is most convenient for you to exercise and write it down in your daily planner or as a reminder on your phone calendar. Keep your exercise routine as you would keep any other appointment.
- Watch your step. Investing in a good pedometer can help you stay motivated. If you have a pedometer attached to your waist and you can see how many steps you’ve taken, you’ll see it doesn’t take long to walk 5,000 steps and you will be inspired. And building up to 10,000 steps a day won’t seem like such a daunting task.
- Hire the right help. While weight training is important, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you run the risk of injuring yourself or not being effective. It’s best to get instructions from a personal trainer at the gym, if you can. You also can buy a weight-training DVD and follow along in your living room.
- Keep records. Grab a diary or logbook, and every day that you exercise, write down what you did and for how long. Your records will make it easy for you to see what you’ve accomplished and make you more accountable. Blank pages? You’d be ashamed.
- Phone a friend. Find someone who likes the same activity that you do – walking in the neighbourhood, riding bikes, playing tennis, doing the child’s play called tente and make a date to do it together. Exercising with a friend or in a group can be very motivating. That is why I love the concept behind the Steady Runs PHC and its cliché: Team No Excuses! You are likely to walk longer or bike greater distances if you’re talking to a friend along the way. The time will go by faster. Don’t have a buddy who is available? Grab an MP3 player and listen to your favourite music or an audio book while exercising.
- Do what you like. Whatever exercise you choose, be sure it’s one that you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with it if it’s something you have fun doing rather than something you see as a chore.
If you can’t fit 30 minutes a day into your schedule, get more exercise simply by being less efficient with your chores and adding a little extra walking distance everywhere you go. However, if you pick an activity you like, finding time for fitness will become effortless and the rewards enormous.
Water versus soft drink. Where do you stand? Water has always been my drink of choice. It just makes me feel good. I tell our athletes, friends, relations to drink water if they have a craving, a headache, are constipated, hungry, etc.
Water is so beneficial, so easy, so free yet so easily overlooked. It’s really a no brainer (actually your brain is 90% water!). Your body is about 70% water, the majority of your blood and every cell in your body is composed of water. Therefore, you need water to function properly.
I don’t get headaches and don’t own Tylenol, Advil, etc. I believe it’s because I drink enough water. I’ve often been complimented on my clear, youthful skin. Again, I thank my water intake!
As with most things, the amount of water for each person is very individual, but if your pee isn’t mostly clear or you have any of the symptoms I mentioned above, you most likely aren’t getting enough water.
Some authorities suggest 8 glasses a day while others suggest take your body weight (in pounds), divide it in half and drink that many ounces. Listen to what your body needs.
If you don’t care much for the taste of… nothing, then you can add a squirt of lemon, a squeeze of lime, a few sprigs of fresh mint or a cucumber or orange slice. You can even be so bold as to add a few berries or watermelon. What ever gets you to drink it up. Cheers to your good health!
Benefits of drinking water: Don’t medicate, hydrate!
- Increases energy & relieves fatigue: Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted!
- Promotes weight loss: Water removes by-products of fat, reduces eating intake (by filling up your tummy if consumed prior to meals), reduces hunger (hello, natural appetite suppressant!), raises your metabolism and has zero calories!
- Flushes out toxins: Gets rid of waste through sweat and urination which reduces the risk of kidney stones and UTI’s (urinary tract infections).
- Improves skin complexion: Water moisturises your skin, keeps it fresh, soft, glowing and smooth. Gets rid of wrinkles. It’s the best anti-aging treatment around!
- Maintains regularity: Water aids indigestion. It is essential to digest your food and prevent constipation.
- Boosts immune system: A water guzzler is less likely to get sick. And who wouldn’t rather feel healthy the majority of the time? Drinking plenty of water helps fight against flu, cancer and other ailments like heart attacks.
- Natural Headache Remedy: Water helps relieve and prevent headaches (migraines & back pains too!) which are commonly caused by dehydration.
- Prevents cramps & sprains: Proper hydration helps keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic so joint pain is less likely.
- Puts you in a good mood: When the body is functioning at its best, you will feel great and be happy! Most of the time water is the tonic you need.
- Save Money! Most people because water is FREE they don’t respect its values! Even if you choose bottled/filtered water, it’s STILL cheaper than that high sugar and fat-filled latte!
Now, let’s take soft drinks to live shorter, painfully: Soda is what Americans call soft drinks. Americans guzzle 57 gallons of soda per person every year, as if it wasn’t full of sugary calories. But what’s happening inside the bodies of soda consumers with each sip?
As soon as soda’s swallowed, the pancreas is notified and rapidly begins to create insulin in response to the sugar. Insulin is a hormone the body uses to move sugar from food or drink into the bloodstream, where cells are then able to use sugar for energy.
Within just 20 minutes, blood sugar levels spike and the liver responds to the insulin by turning sugar into fat for storage. Within 45 minutes of gulping down a single 20-ounce glass of soda, caffeine from the drink is fully absorbed and as a result your pupils dilate and blood pressure rises. The body produces more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain just like a low-grade line of cocaine.
When the hour chimes, the body begins to experience a blood sugar crash, which is around the same time a person reaches for their second soda, or for another sweet and sugar snack to suffice. Soda’s connection to the obesity epidemic is so intertwined. Researchers have calculated each additional soda consumed increases the risk of obesity by 1.6 times.
In addition to the threat of reaching obese levels, researchers also found after following 40,000 men for two decades, those who drank a sugary beverage each day had a 20% increased risk of having a heart attack. The high fructose corn syrup – a cheap replacement for cane sugar – has been associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes and heart disease.
Beverage companies know the haphazard sugar cycle all too well. In the United States, they spend approximately $3.2 billion in marketing each year in an effort to tempt consumers to pick up a liter of brown bubbly sugar with their pizza, or a case of cans for their child’s next birthday party. Those little children have an 80% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes if they become regular soda drinkers. Their future will be one full of kidney problems, reproductive issues, osteoporosis, asthma, and bad teeth with dissolved tooth enamel.
Exercise for healthy living:
Do you want to add years to your life? Or life to your years? Whichever one you pick is also my choice. Feeling your best boosts your zeal for life and living! Life is for the living.
30 minutes at least 5 days a week is all you need. It is important, necessary and good. Three 10-minute periods of activity are as beneficial to your overall fitness as one 30-minute session. This is achievable! Physical activity may also help encourage you to spend some time outdoors.
Here are some reasons why physical activity is proven to improve both mental and physical health.
Physical activity boosts mental wellness: Regular physical activity can relieve tension, anxiety, depression and anger. You may notice a “feel good sensation” immediately following your physical activity and most people also note an improvement in general well-being over time as physical activity becomes a part of their routine.
- Physical activity improves physical wellness.
- Reduced risk factors: Too much sitting and other sedentary activities can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. One study showed that adults who watch more than 4 hours of television a day had a 46% increased risk of death from any cause and an 80% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Becoming more active can help lower your blood pressure and also boost your levels of good cholesterol.
- Physical activity prolongs your optimal health. Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well. People who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about 7 years longer than those who are not active and are obese.
- In addition to the health benefits listed above, moderate exercise, like brisk walking, can have other health benefits such as:
- Improves blood circulation, which reduces the risk of heart disease
- Keeps weight under control
- Helps in the battle to quit smoking
- Improves blood cholesterol levels
- Prevents and manages high blood pressure
- Prevents bone loss
- Boosts energy level
Helps manage stress
- Releases tension
- Promotes enthusiasm and optimism
- Counters anxiety and depression
- Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly through the night. Exercise and insomnia don’t go together
- Improves self-image
- Increases muscle strength, increasing the ability to do other physical activities
- Provides a way to share an activity with family and friends
- Reduced risk of stroke by 20 percent in moderately active people and by 27 percent in those who are highly active
- Establishes good heart-healthy habits in children and counters the conditions (obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, poor lifestyle habits, etc.) that lead to heart attack and stroke later in life
- Helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging and maintains quality of life and independence longer for seniors
Conclusion: So why not see for yourself? Once you find creative ways to fit physical activity into your life, I think you’ll agree with me that the effort to get moving is worth it!
*BEING PAPER PRESENTED BY CHIEF MARY ONYALI (MFR), NIGERIA’S FIRST FIVE-TERM OLYMPIAN AT THE STEADY RUN PHC…TEAM NO EXCUSES ACTIVITY IN PORT HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE ON THE 7TH APRIL 2017