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Exercise: Why YOU Should Do It


Hundreds of Thousands of Americans spend millions of dollars each year on diet pills, "magical" exercise devices, and misrepresented health and fitness products, when in all actuality a good set of dumbbells and a brisk walk may be all you need to get in better shape than you've ever been in.

What can you do with nothing but a set of dumbbells, you ask? Provide resistance to your body's movements - also known as weight lifting. That's all weight lifting is - resistance. The terms "weight lifting" and "resistance training" have become one in the same because they are describing the same activity - moving your body under more resistance than it normally has to handle.

In fact, you've just stumbled upon the basic secret of exercise in general! Whether you are talking about resistance training, Pilates, Yoga, cardiovascular activities, or any other form of exercise, all of these programs have one thing in common - performing more activity than you would get sitting on the couch. WHY should you exercise, though?

How about defying the aging process for starters? Do you know that the primary reason why elderly people end up in nursing homes is because they lose the ability to think and move on their own? Do you also know that the entire process of thinking and moving on our own happens because we do it every day? Until we retire, that is. Once we don't have to go to work anymore, or deal with scheduling and lifestyle issues, suddenly the only thing that we have to think about is whether to watch game shows or soap operas all day long, and the only exercise we get is deftly flying our fingers over the remote control.

Mush. That's what our brains and bodies turn into when we stop using them. Think you are still sharp as a tack, and at the height of your game? Try to say the alphabet backwards in 30 seconds or less.

Yes?. sharp indeed.

What about physically? Think that you can still hold your own even though you don't really exercise much? Stop reading this article and drop down on the floor for some correct-form push-ups. Did you do at least 30 if you are female, or at least 40 if you are male? No? How about 20 or 25? 15? Unless you pulled off 30 or 40, you are probably at less than the 50 percentile mark for your gender - health conditions notwithstanding.

Okay, so you've determined that you aren't exactly Olympic athlete material. So what? You don't even like sports, let alone being very good at them. That's fine, and there is nothing wrong with that. So what about fat? Do you like bodyfat? Do you find it physically appealing? Do you think it's healthy? If so, we're done speaking. Go on about your business, and thanks for reading this far.

For everyone else, here is a newsflash: In America today - the year 2004 - obesity related health conditions account for more deaths in the United States each year than all known forms of cancer COMBINED. Heart Disease alone is the number one killer of American adults, and it is a PREVENTABLE CONDITION!

How about self-esteem? 64% of Americans are overweight. That is almost two-thirds of the population. If you think that a figure like that and the skyrocketing sales of prescription anti-depressants aren't related, you now have a second opportunity to stop reading this article and continue on with your day.

Here is the bottom line, folks: Exercise and a reasonable nutrition program are necessary for ALL people, for their ENTIRE lives. Note, however, that I said "exercise", and that I also said "reasonable nutrition program". At no point did I say anything about spending 2 hours per day at the gym, or about eating nothing but carrots and celery for the rest of your life. Why? Those practices are just as ineffective at long-term weight loss as diet pills and late night infomercial products. Here is what DOES work:

1) Weight/Resistance Training - Weight training for both men and women has the same effect - it makes your muscles more metabolically active. In simpler terms, it means your muscles will burn more calories - even when you are sleeping. Muscle is the only site on your body where bodyfat is broken down. Weak muscles = weak metabolism. Weak metabolism = slow calorie burning.

2) Cardiovascular Training - Contrary to popular belief, this type of training is meant to help your cardio-respiratory system function more effectively, and ultimately to last longer. Does it burn a lot of calories? Sure it does. However, if you don't combine it with resistance training and supportive nutrition, you'll likely just burn off water weight and the muscle tissue that you worked so hard for up in step number 1.

3) Reasonable Nutrition Program - Quality sources of complex and fibrous carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and lean sources of protein. Eat those nutrients in reasonable proportions frequently throughout your day, and your metabolism (refer again to #1) will crank up to high, and you'll be burning more calories on a day to day basis than you ever have before in your life.

So far we have seen that not only can exercise keep us out of a nursing home, but it can also keep off excess levels of bodyfat which will - literally - keep us alive. We haven't even touched on sports performance, recreational activities, improved energy levels, ability to focus, or many of the other benefits of a regular exercise program.

Personally, I'd be happy with just staying out of a nursing home, and staying alive long enough to look good in a bathing suit. What about you?

Aaron Potts is the owner and creator of Fitness Destinations. Aaron's experience in the health and fitness industry includes one on one personal training in many different environments, maintenance of several health-related websites, and authoring of many fitness-related products for consumers and fitness professionals. http://www.fitnessdestinations.com


MORE RESOURCES:

6 Reasons Why You Can't Out-Exercise An Unhealthy Diet
Huffington Post
"Consume excess calories and you have to counterbalance them," says Sara Haas, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "And it's hard to get enough exercise in to undo the calories you'll get in a double cheeseburger with French ...

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Medical Daily

Nestlé's 'Exercise In A Bottle' May Give Obese People Jumpstart On Healthier ...
Medical Daily
They were successful in their first step to stimulate the compound C13, which mimics the fat-burning effect of exercise. Their findings were published in the journal Chemistry & Biology. If people won't exercise maybe they'll be more inclined to drink ...
The Skinny on Nestlé's New Exercise in a Bottle ProjectABC News
Nestle Says It Wants to Create Liquid Exercise in a BottleSavingAdvice.com
Nestle details “exercise in a bottle” researchSlashGear
Bustle -ModVive -Bloomberg
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New York Times (blog)

Does Exercise Really Make Us Smarter?
New York Times (blog)
Exercise seems to be good for the human brain, with many recent studies suggesting that regular exercise improves memory and thinking skills. But an interesting new study asks whether the apparent cognitive benefits from exercise are real or just a ...

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Yahoo Health

Can You Out-Exercise Bad Eating Habits?
Yahoo Health
Well, while exercise can certainly help mediate the damage done by a less-than-healthy diet—granted you have a job and a life outside of the gym—there aren't enough hours in the day to work off the foods that a lot of guys eat in the name of that ...

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Nestle's next food frontier: Exercise in a bottle
Arizona Daily Star
The goal is to develop a nutritional product that mimics or enhances the effect of exercise for people with limited mobility due to old age, diabetes or obesity, Kei Sakamoto, the scientist who oversees research on diabetes and circadian rhythms at ...



Medical News Today

Running for exercise 'slows the aging process'
Medical News Today
The researchers recruited 15 men and 15 women with an average age of 69 who regularly ran or walked for exercise. For this study, "regularly" meant walking or running at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes per workout, for at least 6 ...
Running Really Can Keep You Young, Study SaysHuffington Post
Why Running May Really Be The Fountain of YouthTIME
To Stay Energy Efficient As You Age, Keep On RunningNPR (blog)
RedOrbit -Headlines & Global News
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Jazzercise owner says her business makes exercise fun
Heritage Newspapers
Jazzercise makes exercise fun, Bucher said. It offers its clients, men and women, cardio workouts, strength training using modern music and routines. “We are always coming up with new dance numbers to challenge the body,” Bucher said. “It's no longer ...



Discovery News

Exercise Plus Fasting May Boost Brain's Neurons
Discovery News
Forget what you've heard about "brain food"...turns out, the best food for your brain may be none at all. New research on intermittent fasting and exercise show some surprising brain benefits of depriving yourself of calories -- at least occasionally ...



Nestle Working On 'Exercise in a Bottle' For the Gym-Averse
Tech Times
"The enzyme can help people who can't tolerate or continue rigorous exercise," says Kei Sakamoto, a scientist who researches diabetes and circadian rhythms at Nestle. "Instead of 20 minutes of jogging or 40 minutes of cycling, it may help boost ...



Daily Mail

Exercise Might Not Help Some Type 2 Diabetics Control Their Blood Sugar ...
WebMD
"For many years we have been under the impression that exercise helps decrease insulin resistance in muscles," boosting blood sugar control, said Dr. Maria Pena, director of the Center for Weight Management at North Shore-LIJ's Syosset Hospital in ...
A fifth of type 2 diabetics will NOT benefit from exercise due to geneticsDaily Mail
Exercise Won't Help 20 Percent of Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Blame Their GenesHealthline
One in Five With Type 2 Diabetes Nonresponsive to ExerciseMedscape

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