Benefits of Daily Exercise
Humans need movement and activity to remain healthy. Daily exercise contributes to the following health benefits.
- Healthy heart
- Good blood circulation
- Prevention of type 2 diabetes and treatment for all types of diabetes
- Weight loss
- Improved blood pressure
- Better cholesterol levels
- Healthy respiration
- Enhanced fitness
- Increased muscle mass
The founder of macrobiotics George Ohsawa made vitality and energy the first of his macrobiotic conditions of health.
Although we might all agree that exercise, movement and activity are desirable the bigger issue is how we fit it all into a modern lifestyle.
There are 3 types of exercise
- Aerobic – Walking, jogging, moderate sports, dancing, swimming, relaxed running, skiing. These are ideal for general fitness. Helps our heart, circulation, weight loss, blood pressure, cholesterol and respiration.
- Resistance – Weight lifting, some yoga poses such as the plank, squats, push ups. These help increase muscles mass. Improves metabolism, stabilises blood glucose and protects bones.
- Anaerobic – Extreme running up stairs or steep hill, burpees, intense bursts of running, cycling or activity on a cross trainer. These can help with weight loss, muscle mass and fitness but carry the risk of heart attack and strokes and should not be undertaken by anyone with high blood pressure or at risk of heart attack or stroke. If in doubt consult your doctor.
- Ideally all of the above exercises would be complimented by long slow stretches to help keep our muscles and joints flexible, elastic and supple.
Suggestions for fitting exercise into a busy day
The following are suggestions for fitting more exercise into a normal daily life.
- Get off the bus at least one stop early and walk the rest.
- Use stairs instead of lifts or escalators.
- When carrying shopping home use as weights to raise and lower slowly your arms.
- Run on the spot and try some squats whilst watching television or listening to music.
- Join an exercise, dance, yoga or tai chi class.
- Join a gym.
- Turn house cleaning into an exercise routine with plenty of stretching.
- Make daily events such as tying shoes, or reaching high shelves into a healthy stretch.
- Arrange to go for walks with friends.
- If practical organise walk and talk meetings at work.
- Stand up, stretch and move every 10 to 20 minutes at work and home.
- Buy weights and develop a resistance routine that strengthens your muscles every other day.
- Use your own body weight for push ups, squats, burpees, the plank, stomach crunches and star jumps.
- Buy a doorway pull up bar for pull ups, leg raises and to hang off to stretch our shoulders and back.
Use the above as a menu to create an action plan to help you get started. Ideally your action plan will be realistic and sustainable. For example you might decide to use the stairs at work, go for a 30 minute walk in the park at weekends, get off the bus one stop early on the way home and do resistance exercise on one day at the weekend. If you want to lose weight, increase muscles, reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol or be fitter use these as your prime motivators. If possible use measurements to motivate you. For example lose 5kg, reduce blood pressure to 130/85, lower cholesterol to 5 mmol/l or be able to comfortably be able to jog up 2 flights of stairs.
Whenever engaging in new activities make sure you do so safely and within your current abilities. It is much better to start with an easy routine and slowly increase the intensity and duration until you feel you are approaching your limits.
Wishing you enjoyable and productive exercising!
Get our newsletter
For our latest news, information on our events, and recipes straight to your inbox, subscribe to our mailing list.