No matter where you live, how old you are, or what you do, chances are you must have been told to work out at some point in your life. Generally, workout is associated with weight loss and management. But regular exercise does much more than that. Not only does it help you lose or manage your weight, but it also makes you fitter, protects you from serious health issues, makes you feel good about yourself, and improves the overall quality of life. In fact, having a balanced diet and working out regularly are two of the determinants of your overall health, and the quality of life you lead or are going to lead.
Knowing the benefits of exercising is easy, but getting physically active is easier said than done. First, it is the office deadline, then the familial responsibilities, and then there are habits, which are the most difficult to overcome. Quitting a sedentary lifestyle is more about mental strength than physical. Whatever the circumstances may be, you must try to get at least that amount of workout that is recommended for your age.
Amount Of Exercise You Must Get
If you are an adult, you must get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Moderate-intensity activity means that while doing it, you will be able to say a few words, but not sing. While doing a vigorous exercise, you will be able to say a few words, but not much without stopping for breath.
It is better to spread the activity across the week, rather than getting it in just 2-3 days. Also, at times you might not get the time altogether, so what you can do is split the whole exercise into shorter workout sessions. Other than aerobic exercise, you must do strength training at least twice a week. Workout options include lifting weights, doing pushups, situps, etc.
Young Children (3-5 Years Old)
Kids ages 3 to 5 should stay active throughout the day. Since it is a crucial age for their overall development, being physically active helps with their growth and development. Options include playing a sport, running, swimming, climbing bars, etc.
Kids And Teenagers
Children over 5 years of age and teenagers should get at least 60 minutes of daily moderate-intensity workout. Options include walking, jogging, swimming, playing a sport, etc. Also, they should do vigorous exercise and strength training at least three times a week. Options include running, jumping jacks, burpees, pushups, pullups, etc.
Pregnant women, older adults, and those with underlying health issues cannot get the same level of exercise as others. They should check with their doctors about how much workout they should get, and what are their options. The doctor will be able to recommend better based on their condition, underlying health condition, and fitness level.
Benefits Of Working Out
Exercising regularly helps you get fit, both physically and mentally. It can even determine how long you are going to live. Here are some of the benefits of working out:
- Weight Loss/Management: We all know that a proper diet and exercising enough are crucial to losing, as well as manage weight. While for losing weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume, to maintain the same amount of calories you consume should be equal to the amount you burn. Dieting is a way to lose weight. Although it reduces your calorie intake, it also lowers your metabolic rate, which makes it difficult to lose weight. On the other hand, exercise not only helps you burn calories but also increases your metabolic rate, which is crucial for weight loss.
- Strengthens Bones And Muscles: Regular exercise helps you build stronger bones and muscles. Strength training, such as weight-lifting, along with proper protein intake helps you build muscle mass. When kids and teenagers exercise regularly, it makes their bones stronger. It also prevents the loss of bone density as you age.
- Prevents Heart Diseases: Exercising regularly is good for heart health, as it gets strengthened. When you work out, the heart pumps more blood, thus the oxygen supply in your body increases, which protects you from various diseases, and makes you healthier.
- Lowers Blood Sugar Level: When you work out, it helps you manage your blood sugar level, and the insulin is able to work more efficiently. It lowers your risk of getting type-2 diabetes. And if you already suffer from it, exercising helps you manage it.
- Cancer: It also decreases your risk of developing some cancers such as that of lungs, colon, breast, and uterine.
- Improves Mood: When you exercise, your body releases feel-good chemicals known as endorphins, which uplift your mood, and relaxes you. Working out regularly has shown to help people cope with stress and anxiety, and preventing depression.
- Improves Sleep Quality: Getting regular exercise helps you sleep better, quicker, and longer.
- Improves Skin Health: Regular exercise has also been shown to improve skin health.
- Improves Sex Life: Exercising has also been shown to promote better sex life.
- Prolongs Life: As exercising regularly prevents your risk of developing serious health conditions, such as heart diseases and some kinds of cancer, which are the leading causes of premature death, hence you can live longer by exercising regularly.
Workout Options For You
Now that you know the benefits of exercise, and how much physical activity you need, the next big question is what are some workout options. As you know that you must get some amount of moderate aerobic exercise, here are some of the options:
- Brisk walking
- Playing a sport
Equally important is vigorous aerobic exercise. Here are some of the options:
- Swimming at a rapid pace
- Jumping jacks
- Skipping a rope
- Martial arts
- Competitive sports such as football, hockey, etc.
You must get at least 2 hours of strength training every week. Here are some strength training options:
- Lifting weights
- Tai Chi
- Exercising with resistance bands
Regular exercise is good for the body as well as the mind. However, starting it can be difficult, and being consistent can be even harder. What you need are patience, determination, and motivation to steer ahead. Here are some tips that might help:
- Set Realistic Goals: Once you decide to begin exercising, you need the motivation to move ahead. Setting a humungous target in the beginning, for example getting six-pack abs, can discourage you quickly as it will take time to show effect. Hence, it is better to set smaller targets, for example losing 0.5 kilos in a week, and then increasing the target. This will keep you motivated and persistent in achieving your real goal.
- Make It A Habit: To work out regularly, you need to make it a habit, a part of your daily routine, such as eating or going to work. What might help is assigning a particular time of the day for exercising, such as after work, or the first thing in the morning.
- Nutrition And Water: You cannot get optimal and longtime workout benefits without proper nutrition, and staying hydrated. Hence, make it a point to not skip any meals, and having a nutritious, well-balanced diet that contains all food groups. Also, you need to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water daily.
- Warm Up, Cool Down: Often overlooked, warm-up and cool-down exercises are extremely important if you work out. When you warm up before exercising, it helps your body prepare for the actual workout. It helps prevent injuries, increases flexibility, prevents post-workout soreness, and improves the overall quality of your workout. You can just do some arm movements, leg kicks, or walking lunges to warm up. Cooling down is just as important, as it helps your heart rate to get normal, and prevents muscle soreness post-workout. You can stretch to cool down.
So, as you saw working out is important for long and qualitative life. And, you do not need much time, just 150 minutes per week, which will ultimately play a role in not only determining the quality of your life but also how long you are going to live.