There is one sure way to build, improve and maintain your physical and mental health. Exercise! Some people love it, but if you cringe at the thought, replace the big, bad X word with the word movement.
Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. Carol Welch
Frequent movement and regular activity raises metabolism, burns calories and keeps the physical engine humming. Walk, dance, garden, ride a bike, play sports, stretch, swim, throw a ball. Exercise will improve the shape you’re in no matter what shape you’re in or when you start. And it is crucial for your brain as well as your body.
Exercise virtually cleanses the brain. It flushes away the plaque buildup believed to cause Alzheimer’s Disease. It can stimulate neurogenesis, the birth of new cells, in certain areas of the brain. Exercise increases blood flow in the brain, heightens mental acuity, improves alertness, awareness, cognitive abilities of learning, memory, planning, scheduling, task coordination and attention, has positive biochemical effects and protects the brain from damage, disease and aging.
Exercise is the chief source of improvement in our faculties.
Daily exercise can give a 30% boost to brain power. It is a proven anti-dote to depression. It activates the same systems in the brain as anti-depressant drugs and has similar effects without negative side effects.
Start by incorporating physical activities you enjoy into your life on a regular basis. At least one should be aerobic. As you start to feel more fit and energized, add muscle building to your routine. If you are just embarking upon an exercise program, be sure to choose something pleasurable so you’ll keep at it. Beginning classes in yoga, Pilates and tai chi are enjoyable and great for easing into shape. They improve posture and flexibility as well as strength.
To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise.
Get proper training or advice from your doctor if embarking on a new exercise program.
Warm up before, cool down after.
Drink water. Stay hydrated.
Visualize improvement. Visualizing exercises reinforces the associated neural patterns and can improve performance. Visualization can help build weak muscles, but you need to do it for at least 20 minutes a day to produce notable results. That’s meant to be an adjunct to physical exercise, not a replacement!
Practice balance. More than 1/3 of people over 65 and half of people over 75 have balance problems. Practice maintaining your balance while standing on one foot. Have a support close at hand to steady yourself.
Mix it up. Vary your program; challenge yourself with change. Aside from the basics of walking, stretching, aerobic and resistance training, add some different, enjoyable exercises like biking, swimming, gardening. All physical activity is good. The more vigorous, the better.
You Can Move Right Now!
Shake arms and hands. Wiggle your fingers. Roll your wrists in circles, clockwise and counterclockwise. Hold onto back of chair and shake your feet and legs. Rotate ankles in both directions. Stretch foot forward and back. Hands on hips, knees gently bent, roll hips in a circle one way 8 times, then the other way.
Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If nothing else, get up and go for a walk.
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. Plato
Partially excerpted from: Make The Best of the Rest of Your Life