Common question: “I don’t do any exercise…so how do I start?”
“Exercise” sounds like a generic term that could describe just about anything involving movement, and the truth is that it almost can! The best exercise is whatever you are willing to do with the best form and the most dedication. Remember, though, that there is a trilogy of fitness–flexibility, cardio, and strength training–so we have to choose exercises that address all three of these. As a general rule, remember this definition:
Exercise is training you do for flexibility, cardiovascular, or strength for at least ten minutes at a time, with proper form and execution, to increase (or maintain) your fitness level.
There are so many benefits of exercise that improve your overall quality of life. Exercise makes your heart, lungs, muscles, and even organs stronger and more efficient. Exercise helps rid your body of toxins, helps you sleep better, and can act like nature’s caffeine by boosting your own natural energy levels, called endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals released in the brain that make you happier by elevating your mood naturally and making you want more. In the beginning phases of exercise, however, the muscles first get sore, so you may not notice the boost of endorphins in your body at first.
Please remember that exercise does not mean that you must replicate what you see on television or at your local gym. Exercise can be as aggressive as boot camp callisthenic classes or as simple as pruning the shrubs in your back yard.
The U.S. Surgeon General has made a statement that it’s best for us to get at least one hour of movement activity on all or most days of the week. This can be challenging for the person who by nature is inactive, so I urge you to think in small terms. In the beginning, just try to do some movement-based activity for 10 minutes. This will automatically increase as you reap the benefits of fitness and start to notice differences. So get out and garden, pull weeds, clean out an old closet with high and low shelves, take a short walk, or do anything that involves movement: it can involve strength, cardiovascular exercise, or flexibility.
Remember, the key word is “movement”.
Guest post by Lawrence Biscontini, Mindful Movement Specialist, fitness expert, and Senior VIP Consultant for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and Power Music®.