“Eating alone will not keep a man well; he must also take exercise. For food and exercise, while possessing opposite qualities, yet work together to produce health.” — Hippocrates
Unfortunately, no matter who I talk to, most people think that being physically active and doing regular exercise is only for weight loss purposes or to keep them healthier when they age. But leading an active lifestyle is not only limited to these reasons!
Our bodies are designed to be in continuous movement, with all joints and muscles working together to integrate and support our daily activities, such as walking in an upright position, or picking something up from the ground.
The benefits of physical fitness and leading an active lifestyle are numerous, and include improved fitness, endurance, flexibility and posture, decreased body fat, and increased lean muscle mass. There are also social, economical, mental, and emotional benefits, and great improvements to our overall health.
For example, a person with a healthy body who takes regular exercise will generally experience improved relationships, have a better social life, improved moods, improved self esteem, less anxiety and depression, less stress, increased energy, enhanced sleep, savings on health care with a dramatically decreased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The whole life quality will increase with better health!
However, in order to see all the benefits, physical fitness must be integrated into all activities of daily living. It should not be limited to going to the gym or walking half an hour a day.
When you do exercise (such as walking or some resistance exercises) every day, the body engages with the activities and all of its physiological systems undergo specific adaptations that increase the body’s efficiency and capacity. If you’re not sure where to start, then walking is a low impact activity that anyone can make part of their daily life. You can walk to work, walk to the shops, or even just park the car a little further away from the shops instead of always choosing the closest parking space.
Health is defined as the overall state of your body and mind, and even light-intensity physical activity that comes with carrying grocery bags, walking to the shops, gardening, washing dishes, and cleaning your house will add to your overall state of health.
You really can’t go wrong by adding more activity into your life, there is no question that regular exercise leads to long-term health benefits. Yet, unfortunately, most people sit for long periods without taking a moment to stand up and move around, and are therefore exposed to static loading of tissues, primarily in the lumbar area of the back.
It can also affect the upper back, neck and legs, so this can have an effect on the whole body system too. The body’s systems work together as a whole — when all parts are working smoothly than we can see it operating at its highest capacity of efficiency and functionality. That’s is why you can’t just heal one part of the body, you must treat it as a whole to really heal.
So don’t look for quick workouts, just because you want to do 5 minutes exercise to feel good. Yes, you may feel good, but if you are doing nothing for the remaining 23-plus hours of your day then you’ll never reach your goals. Think about it, if you want to travel 10 miles, but each time you walk you only go 0.1 miles, how long will it take you to get there?! Always remember, intensity and involvement, in whatever you are doing, will help you to reach your goal. There are no short cuts!
Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at DietDocHawaii.com, Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com or (808) 276-6892.