To get in shape and stay fit the best thing you can do is cardio. To reap benefits from exercise it doesn’t require that you go out and run 10 miles everyday, leave that for intermediate and advanced runners! You can build up to that slowly. Exercise benefits don’t only come from intense exertion. What you can do instead is go out for a simple one hour walk. This does not count as “cardio” as you won’t be increasing your heart rate with this exercise, however, it’s a great starting point.
Walking is great for:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Preventing or managing various health conditions.
- Strengthening your musculoskeletal system.
- Improving your mood.
Walking is of course easy to do and it’s very low impact, just walk if nothing else..
Jogging is of course better for you because you get the added benefit of strengthening your cardiovascular system. It’s crucial that you take it slow when you first start jogging, it can be a little rough on the knees.
What if I hate running?
Oh I get it! For many people unfortunately, running isn’t very enjoyable. But that shouldn’t stop you from doing cardio. I suggest you find other forms of cardio, there are so many options. Personally I love swimming, playing basketball, and cycling. The most important thing is that you get out there and start moving. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, consider joining a group fitness class!
Why you should start strength training & dispelling a myth
Let me begin saying that this applies to females as well. There have been many times where I’ve recommended for females to include strength training and their response has usually been, “I don’t want to look muscular”. I’ve even heard this excuse from males. What some people don’t seem to understand is that building significant amounts of muscle requires a lot time, I’m talking about years and years of training. The only way that females end up having a masculine physique is when they inject themselves with steroids. Women just don’t have the level of testosterone that men do which is an important hormone for building muscle mass. You simply do not grow overnight, so that’s a silly excuse. Strong is the new sexy anyway!
Here are three reasons to include strength training
- Strength– Of course strength training makes your body stronger. A sturdy body promotes good posture and prevents injury. When you’re strong you are also more physically capable. Want more reasons?
- Increases metabolism– Muscle is metabolically more demanding than fat. When you build muscle and strength train, your body then prioritizes muscle mass. ‘If you don’t use it you lose it’ definitely applies here.. Body fat is basically just stored energy. If you have muscle mass to maintain, the body requires more energy, thus the body becomes more effective at burning body fat. Muscle becomes valuable because your body adapts to stimuli (it builds muscle as a response to exercise). Strength training tells your body that you need the muscle, in turn your body supports its growth. Still not convinced?
- Self-esteem– The most obvious benefit to strength training is the ability to transform your physique, which in turn gives you confidence. This is a big one and for many people it’s probably the most motivational. There are many things that you can’t change about your body, but shape is one of those things that you can. Strength training allows you to sculpt your body and enhance your features (for males it may be the biceps and for females it may be the booty).
Do I need to lift weights?
No, not really. you could build a great physique by just using your body weight. To increase the diversity of your workouts you can use light and portable equipment like suspension trainers and resistance bands, they are very affordable and convenient. In fact, you never have to step into a gym, ever. Suspension trainers are great for strengthening your chest, back and abs, throw it over a door or a strong branch and you’re golden. With resistance bands you can give your legs, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and back an effective workout. I personally have used them both and I recommend them.
Here’s a bonus
The more you exercise, the more you can eat!
Note: You can easily out-eat your exercise, but it’s still a great benefit. I used to regularly exercise a bit more just to fit in some yummy goodness like ice cream.
Now you can see the importance of exercise. It’s beneficial on so many levels to combine cardio and strength training. A well rounded exercise regimen can optimize your goal of getting in shape and staying fit. Walk. Run. Play. Lift. Just get moving.
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I am not a healthcare professional. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet or exercise program. This is for educational purposes only, I am speaking from my own experience and from what I have learned through my own research.
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