Face it: You just feel better when you eat right, and exercise more. From lean chicken and fish, to healthy fruits, and veggies; from low-fat or skim dairy (or vitamin-fortified soy milk, or yogurt), to whole grains – plus water for optimal hydration – good food is like fuel for your body. What you eat and how much you move matters when it comes to weight or developing a chronic condition like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Making wise choices now can have a huge impact on both longevity and quality of life as you age.
Remember that a healthy, well-balanced diet also gives you the energy to exercise. A recent Mayo Clinic study even said that aerobic workouts could help reverse the aging process! Cardiorespiratory exercise (also called aerobic exercise) is the best way to both increase your heart rate, and to help your lungs breathe faster, and more deeply, by having you move at a faster pace for a longer time.
Biking, dancing, running, swimming, walking, yoga, and many team sports help to condition both your heart and lungs. Get bored easily? Mix in a couple of different workouts. Go for a light run one day, either solo or with a friend, and take in a class activity on another. Choose what you enjoy; it’ll keep things interesting, and you interested in making that commitment to move (especially when you start to see and feel the results). Just talk to your doctor first, before you start.
Cardiorespiratory exercise can:
- Aid memory.
- Boost the immune system to combat illness.
- Burn calories to reduce weight and get lean.
- Fight depression and fatigue by raising energy.
- Improve blood flow and sugar levels.
- Increase oxygen flow to muscles.
- Release endorphins (the “feel-good” hormone).
- Widen your range of motion in joints.
- Work the arms, hips, and legs.
- Help you live longer!
Warm up slowly with gentle stretches first (no bouncing)! Try working out for 30 minutes each day, three times per week. You can also simply break up your time with two 15-minute sessions, or try three 10-minute walks. Aim to exercise all five days, once you get stronger. Always have water handy. Be sure to “cool down” too, after each workout.
Just keep it moving! Your healthy heart depends on it.
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano
Sources include: www.mayoclinic.org