This article is part of a series on improving your immune system. Find more on the immune system series COMING SOON.
Exercise may be far more beneficial than any drug, vitamin, mineral, or herb in the prevention and treatment of an array of physical and mental health problems.
When I talk about exercise, I’m loosely referring to 3 different activities:
- aerobic activity
- strength training
Picture these 3 activities like the sides of a triangle. If you take away one side of the triangle, it will ultimately collapse. All 3 are necessary in optimizing your health and wellness.
Studies recommend anywhere from 150-250 minutes/week of moderate-intensity exercise for people with an established exercise routine. If you are just getting started, you’ll want to start out gradually, aiming for at least 3 20-minute periods of continuous rhythmic activity, such as jogging, swimming, biking, walking, jump-roping, tennis, etc.
Include strength training 2-3 times each week. There are many different ways to accomplish this, and you may find one that works especially well for you. Or you might want a combination of strengthening activities. Remember to use each of your major muscle groups, and remember to breathe.
The stretching aspect of your exercise should occur after you’ve warmed your body up or better yet, finished a full workout. Stretching lengthens the muscles that have shortened through exercise and from the imbalances resulting from the more sedentary lifestyles brought by modern day conveniences. Remember the importance of at least 90 seconds for each stretch to make your stretching capable of releasing binds within the fascia that holds the muscles together. This goes a long way toward pain prevention. Of course, I still think the world of Yamuna Body Rolling. It falls into this category of stretching but often has a much bigger impact than stretching alone offers.
And finally, I’d like to suggest that you try an exercise that promotes mind-body awareness, as this has also been proven to boost overall health and wellness. Some more popular mind-body activities that you can find classes for locally include: yoga, tai chi, pilates, and qigong.
Some benefits of movement and exercise:
- improves quality of life
- eases performance of daily activity
- aids in control of blood pressure
- reduces fatigue
- improves circulation
- helps maintain bone density and prevents osteoporosis
- reduces stress levels and depression
- regulates sleep habits
- helps regulate blood sugar
- improves joint structure and function
- increases good cholesterol (HDL)
- reduces risk of coronary artery disease
- increases range of motion
- improves posture
- decreases body fat
Please take a moment and share your experiences with exercise. I’d love to know what works for you and/or what gets in your way.