Exercise Is For Long Term Health

Exercise is important for all stages of life. In my experience young people exercise because they want to look good in a bikini, have six pack abs, or better arms. Middle age people exercise because things are starting to hurt, the doctor told them to, or because body fat levels have gotten out of hand. Older individuals exercise because they want to improve there quality of life, be around for grandkids, or to reinvent themselves.

Those reasons are valid. But the true positive essence of exercise is suffering because of the superficial attitudes.

Yes, exercise will take up some of your free time.

Yes, exercise will not always be what you want to do.

Yes, exercise is a process so visual changes come with time.

Exercise Is For Long Term Health
Exercise Is For Long Term Health

Everyone will not share the same view on exercise but the research is clear. If you lead a lifestyle that includes exercise, you will reap the rewards as you age. If you haven't started yet, you can still benefit by starting now.

One of the key benefits is to make you steadier on your feet and reducing your risk of falling.  Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults. It’s estimated that one out of three adults aged 65 or older will fall each year.

An indicator that you are at risk of an injury causing fall would be if you are shaky when you try to balance on one leg. Starting a functional training program right away is important.

Research shows that physical activity can reduce your chances of falling. If you do fall, people who are physically fit are less likely to become injured. According to a study done in 2013 by BMJ, older adults who took part in an exercise program were 40 percent less likely to suffer an injury during a fall compared to non-exercisers. This included a 61 percent lower risk of having a fall-induced broken bone and a 43 percent lower risk of sustaining a fall-related injury serious enough to need admission to a hospital.

After fall prevention, the next key benefit to exercise is to help preserve muscle mass. Use it or lose it applies to muscle tissue.

Did you know by the time you are 30, age related muscle loss may have already begun. It is possible for it to begin even sooner if you've neglected to take proactive steps to prevent it.

Without any sort of intervention, you can lose an average of 7 pounds of muscle per decade. The result of this is catastrophic and include: * Impaired ability to regulate body temperature * Slower metabolism * The loss in ability to perform everyday tasks.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, much of this is preventable. But you have to challenge your muscles with an appropriate workout program.

The fact is, if you want to extend your life with quality years, you've got to exercise. It acts on every area of your body. Exercise can ignite the body's immune system, improve mental function, boosts energy, strengthen muscles and bones, and reduce the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, come cancer and diabetes.

If you do not move, one day you will not be able to move. I promise you that you will never say, "Man, I am sorry I exercised today."

How To Mentally Deal With Injuries

At some point in our life we all face some kind of injury. Though I don’t know the statistics on injuries sustained at work or during exercise, I’m going to figure that a substantial portion of people sustain a serious injury at some point in their careers. When I was a personal trainer in corporate clubs I regularly worked with people of all sorts helping them recover and return to their exercise regimen or work better than ever. Finally, having recovered from a serious injury during my own career as a torn ACL, I learned first hand how difficult recovering from a serious injury is.

Accept that getting hurt sucks and you will feel bad at times, especially early in your recovery when you’re more disabled than working toward recovery. You will not be able to do the normal things to which you are accustomed. You will be in pain. You’ll feel frustrated, angry, and depressed. You’ll want to curl up in a ball and withdraw from life. These reactions are normal and, to some degree, healthy, as you have to allow yourself to grieve for your loss.

At the same time, if you allow yourself to stay in that funk for too long, you will surely slow your recovery. So, after a short time, get over your “pity party” and get your mind on your recovery; keep focused on the present and the future. I remember being so torn about my injury but my trainer told me, "It's not about how you get hurt, it's how you come back from being hurt." The day after my surgery I showed up for therapy and had no idea what to expect. The problem is that rehab hurts (a lot!), is boring, tiring, monotonous, in other words, it gets old fast. That’s why so many people that have injuries end up either shortening or skipping rehab sessions, or not putting in their best effort. The result: slowed or incomplete recovery.

I have seen injuries save a lot of people as well. It seems weird right? Think of it this way. Getting injured can teach you to be tough, endure hardship, and really find your motivation for goals. Injuries can also enable you to focus on areas of your body that have been weaknesses, but you simply haven’t had time to work on them. Your low back injury may cause you to focus on strengthening your core, and stretching your hamstrings. Your knee injury might slow you down so you work on your quad strength and ankle/calf flexibility. The goal is for you to return to your job or exercise program physically better than you were before.

Mental imagery can also play a major role in your mental recovery from an injury as well. Imagery is not just something that goes on in your head. In fact, it connects your mind and your body and, amazingly, activates muscles in the same way as when you are actually performing exercise or physical labor on your job. Research has shown that you can improve your skills without actual training by engaging in regular mental imagery.

The bottom line is when you get seriously injured, it is a real bummer. But what is an even bigger problem is not returning fully or as quickly as possible to your exercise program or job. For you to return to better than before, you need to do everything possible to facilitate your recovery. That means following your physical rehab program to the letter. But you also need to develop a habit of conjuring up healthy thoughts to foster a full recovery as well. This will allow your body and your mind to be fully recovered and prepared for your job and exercise program.

Why sitting all day is detrimental to your health

You probably don’t need an expert to tell you that sitting around too much could lead to a sore back or a spare tire. It is widely believed, though, that if you watch your diet and do aerobic exercise at least a few times a week, you can effectively offset your sedentary time. However, research has clearly shown that we cannot counter a pack a day smoking habit simply by jogging. In short, exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting. Sitting itself probably isn’t any worse than other types of daytime physical inactivity, like lying on the couch watching your favorite sitcom. But for most of us, when we’re awake and not moving, we’re sitting. Most of us have heard that sitting is unhealthy. But many of us also have discounted the warnings, since we spend our lunch hours conscientiously visiting the gym. We consider ourselves sufficiently active. But then we drive back to the office, settle at our desks and sit for the rest of the day. We are, in a phrase adopted by physiologists, ‘‘active couch potatoes.’’ The first law of thermodynamics is the thermodynamic expression of the principle of the conservation of energy and states that when energy is added to a system, it is either stored or used to perform work. Applying this physical law to living entities, such as animals, provides us with the conclusion that when total energy intake is greater than energy expenditure, excess energy will be stored as body fat. The physiological states of overweight and obese are a consequence of cumulative excesses in caloric intake.

Since the 1970s, whereas the average height of American men and women has increased, the average weight has increased 25 pounds. It is tempting to attribute the increase in average weight to changes in population demographics, i.e., “middle age spread,” from aging baby boomers. However, no category of individuals has escaped without weight gain, as reflected in the trend of mean weight for both men and women. Similar trends can be seen in data from children and adolescents. Thus, it is not simply that more people are overweight or obese; the entire population is gaining weight.

So where does sitting for most of the day come into place with all this research? If you spend too much of your time in a chair, your glute muscles will actually forget how to fire. Sort of like gluteal amnesia. Your glutes are your largest muscle group. So if they aren’t functioning properly, you won’t be able to perform basic shapes and probably won’t be able to squat or deadlift as much weight. This will result in you not being able to burn as much fat. Bottom line is, muscles burn calories and your glutes are a powerful furnace for fat burning capabilities.

Weak glutes as well as tight hip flexors cause your pelvis to tilt forward. This puts stress on your lumbar spine, resulting in lower-back pain. It also pushes your belly out, which gives you a protruding gut even if you don't have an ounce of fat. "The changes to your muscles and posture from sitting are so small that you won't notice them at first. But as you reach your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, they'll gradually become a lot harder to fix."

The chair you're sitting in now is likely contributing to the problem. The spine wasn't meant to stay for long periods in a seated position. Generally speaking, the slight S shape of the spine serves us well. If you think about a heavy weight on a C or S, which is going to collapse more easily? When you sit, the lower lumbar curve collapses, turning the spine's natural S-shape into a C, hampering the abdominal and back musculature that support the body. The body is left to slouch, and the lateral and oblique muscles grow weak and unable to support it. This causes problems with other parts of the body. When you're standing, you're bearing weight through the hips, knees, and ankles. When you're sitting, you're bearing all that weight through the pelvis and spine, and it puts the highest pressure on your back discs.

So what's a desk jockey to do? Think in terms of two spectrums of activity. One represents the activities you do that are considered regular exercise. But another denotes the amount of time you spend sitting versus the time you spend on your feet. Every day, make the small choices that will help move you in the right direction on that sitting-versus-standing spectrum. Stand while you're talking on the phone. It all adds up, and it all matters.

Of course, there's a problem with all of this: It kills all our lame excuses for not exercising (no time for the gym, the gym is too far away, a rerun of The Office you haven't seen). Now we have to redefine "workout" to include every waking moment of our days. But there's a big payoff: more of those days to enjoy in the future. So get up off your chair and start non-exercising.


References Levine, J., Schleusner, S., & Jensen, M. (2000). Energy Expenditure of Nonexercise Activity. American Society for Clinical Nutrition, 72(6), 1451-1454. Retrieved from Charts from the American Time Use Survey. (2015, October 26). Retrieved from Owen, N., Bauman, A., & Brown, W. (2009). Too Much Sitting: A Novel and Important Predictor of Chronic Disease Risk? British Journal of Sports Medicine, (43), 81-83. doi:10