It is well known that everybody can
benefit from exercise, yet very few of us ever engage in a regular routine. The
majority of our jobs today donít involve physical exercise; many of us are stuck
with desk jobs, staring at computer screens 40 hours a week. Kids spend far
too much time watching TV, playing video games, etc. .... all forms of entertainment
designed to make the body lazy.
We must discipline ourselves to put aside 15 to 20 minutes a day, 3 or 4 times a week,
for a variety of stretching, walking, lifting weights etc., to compensate for what our
body is lacking throughout the week. The right combination of exercise and
nutrition increases both muscle strength and energy. When your body is working
more efficiently, your energy levels soar. Everyday things become much easier to do.
Gaining control of your body size and weight through fitness is a wonderful way to increase your
self-esteem. You will look better and feel more confident, which will show in
everything you do. You will also find that the self-discipline required through regular
exercise will spill over into other areas of your life.
Exercising your mind is just as important. Research shows that regular exercise helps to
keep the brain sharp, well into old age. Anything that involves mental activity
(focus and concentration) is improved. You will stand a much better chance of avoiding
diseases such as Alzheimer's and senility.
Dr. Walter Bortz is quoted in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, ďThere
is no medicine that can help overcome the range of conditions for which exercise has been
prescribedĒ. And here are some benefits of regular exercise that he is talking about:
Reduce high blood pressure
Help prevent heart and stroke disease
Regulate your weight and control obesity
Strengthen your back, therefore reducing back pains that so many of us suffer from
Getting a good nightís sleep
Reduce stress, resulting in a feel-good lifestyle
A study carried out by the University of Hong Kong reports 20% of all deaths of people 35 and older were
attributed to a lack of physical activity. That's more deaths than can be attributed to smoking. The
risk of dying from respiratory ailments was 92% higher for men and 75% higher for women due to a lack of exercise.
Physical activity gets everything moving in your body .... the blood, the oxygen, the nutrients, the
cellular respiration, the nervous system, and so much more. Sweating is good for you as well .... you sweat out toxins and replace
the lost liquids by drinking fresh, clean water. Physical exercise, if done outside, also exposes you to the healing
effects of natural sunlight, an essential nutrient for the human body that is deficient in most people (vitamin D3).
Exercising should be fun, not something that you dread doing. For starters, choose an activity that you
enjoy, like a nice walk in the evening, or leisurely bike ride. Find somebody to join you, exercising is
always more fun in pairs or groups, and is more motivational also. This can lead to joining a gym or night
classes at your local school. There are classes at most gyms that have been designed just for Seniors also.
Try to make changes to your everyday routines, wherever possible, that will allow for more exercise:
In an apartment, or at the shopping mall, take the stairs
Walk to the corner convenience store, rather than driving all of the time
Wash your car at home with a bucket and sponge
Mow your lawn with a push or gas mower, rather than a riding mower
Shovel your driveway in the winter, rather than using a snow-blower
.... adding more exercise to your lifestyle is habit-forming.
For those guilty of watching too much TV; if you canít cut back, try to incorporate exercise into your TV
time. While sitting in your favourite recliner, use some small weights for a few arm curls. If
youíre not able to lift heavy objects, a can of soup is a good substitute. Use commercial breaks as a
time for stretching, jumping jacks, running on the spot, etc. Anything is better than sitting idle
for 2 or 3 hours at a time!
Seniors: I have a senior friend, George, who just turned 91 recently. He walks to the
YMCA 3 times a week for his Seniorís exercise group and follows up with a swim in the pool. He also bowls twice a
week. Now I realize not all 91 year olds are able to keep up with him, but Iím sure his dedication to exercise over
the years has kept him young.
If you are older, perhaps confined to a wheelchair, ask your nurse or health care aide for some simple exercises that
could benefit you. ng on opposite ends of a small tea towel, squeezing a soft sponge ball, little stretches
that can be performed throughout the day are just a few examples.
We canít use the excuse of lacking information; exercise and nutrition really do make a difference. Sometimes we
just need a push - or reminder to do things .... exercise is one of them. You just have to learn to incorporate
exercise into your lifestyle. If you normally wake up at 7:00 a.m., then get up at 6:40 a.m. If you
canít find a gym nearby, purchase some gym equipment for your rec room.
ďThose who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illnessĒ, (Edward Stanley).