We all know that exercise is good for us, not only to lose weight but for our general physical health. We also know that we should be working out for a minimum of 30 minutes, three times a week. However, the many and varied health benefits of exercise may surprise you, as well as the specific health benefits of certain types of exercise.

For many, despite the benefits of being active, establishing a regular fitness routine can be a challenge. Between working long hours at a sedentary job and balancing this with family, social and other commitments, finding the time to exercise can seem impossible. Not to mention the high cost of gym membership and fitness programs. There are some simple inexpensive types of exercise which you will not only find easy to integrate into your daily life, but you will love to do!

Jogging

Jogging is one of the easiest and cheapest forms of exercise you can do, because it requires no equipment, little skill and you can literally do it anywhere. There is very little stopping you from going for a jog around the block! It is also a great form of cardio-vascular exercises, and getting your heart pumping has all sorts of benefits for the body and mind.

The main challenge or barrier to people maintaining a regular jogging routine is injury: it is not uncommon, particularly when starting out, to sustain injuries particularly to the knees and ankles. Avoid injury by wearing the correct shoes, applying good technique including warming up beforehand and stretching after running and always consult with your doctor if you have any concerns. Chinese medicine can also be helpful in aiding with aches and pains associated with running.

Benefits:

  • Jogging is fantastic for the heart, and has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease. As these conditions are two of the main killers in modern society, this means jogging could literally increase your lifespan.

  • Jogging is also one of the best ways to shift unwanted kilos. As a moderate to intense type of cardiovascular exercise, it has been shown to help with sustained weight loss over time.

  • Jogging is not just great for physical health: it can also improve mental wellbeing. Going for a run can be a great stress reliever, not to mention this type of exercise releases endorphins, one of the chemicals responsible for the feeling of happiness.

Swimming

Swimming is another excellent form of cardiovascular exercise. It also has the additional benefit of being a non-loadbearing activity, making it a great option for those recovering from an injury or prone to one. It is also great because it is a full body workout, involving almost every part of the body. Although swimming can be slightly more difficult to take up as it requires somewhere to swim, most communities and neighbourhoods have a public pool which anyone can use, usually all year round. So there is little excuse to dust off your backstroke and do some laps!

Benefits:

  • Swimming is a great for building endurance, as you are continually working to push against the resistance of the water.

  • At the same time, swimming builds muscle strength and tone.

  • As a non-loadbearing form of cardiovascular exercise, swimming promotes heart and lung health while at a low risk of injury.

Yoga

Yoga may be seen by some as simply stretching or relaxation, but it can be incredibly effective in building fitness, at the same time as offering a range of physical and mental health benefits. One of yoga’s great strengths is that it is a low-impact form of exercise and is therefore suitable for almost anyone, including those recovering from injury, older people and pregnant women. Now it is also very easy to get started with yoga, even as a complete beginner, thanks to the range of quality (ans free!) yoga classes available online.

Benefits:

  • Yoga is great for strengthening and toning muscles, which can also help with stabilising joints and protecting from

  • As most people know, yoga builds greater flexibility.

  • The breathing and relaxation components in yoga also have great benefits for mental and emotional health, such as reducing stress and anxiety and improving confidence.

Dancing

Signing up for a dance class can be a great way to get fit, while having fun at the same time. Dance classes are also great because they offer extra incentives  to help you stay motivated to stick with your fitness routine, such as the social connection and having a set time commitment.

There are also a range of dance styles you can choose from, such as Latin, hip hop, contemporary ballet, and even belly dancing, meaning you will be sure to find a style which interests you and suits your needs. Besides all this, dance also has a range of benefits for health and wellbeing.

Benefits:

  • As a type of aerobic exercise, dancing increases aerobic fitness and improves the condition of the heart and lungs.

  • Dancing helps to build better coordination, balance and agility, through learning set steps and executing repetitive actions.

  • Dance has been shown to improve mental functioning, and may even delay the onset of conditions such as dementia in older people.

Support Your Fitness With a Healthy Diet

Yes, this is not a type of exercise, however a healthy, balanced diet is an integral part of physical fitness. Experts tell us that not only does eating well have its own health benefits for the body, but it also critical to maintaining a regular fitness routine.

A healthy, balanced diet will provide us with the vitamins and minerals our body needs to build muscle, maintain healthy bones, control inflammation and balance hormone production, all of which is essential for building a healthy body through exercise. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and drinking plenty of water will go a long way to make sure you get the nutrients you need.

However, experts say in most cases it will be necessary to take nutritional supplements to ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of all necessary vitamins and minerals. Common nutritional supplements include vitamin tablets, fish oil, iron, magnesium and amino acids, and should be taken at specific times of the day, so it is important to know when to take supplements.

Benefits:

  • Vitamin D and Calcium supplements are aid in building  for strong bones, which is of a particular concern as it is thought that the majority of people are deficient in Vitamin D

  • Iron supplements help to ensure the proper functioning of haemoglobin, which is responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. Having sufficient oxygen in the blood is critical for effective physical activity.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, most commonly available in fish oil supplements, can improve energy levels and reduce inflammation, meaning injuries and muscle soreness will heal more quickly.

Whatever form of exercise you choose, a regular fitness routine is sure to result in better physical health and emotional wellbeing. Simple forms such as jogging, swimming, yoga and dance are easy to pick up and offer their own benefits, from better heart and lung health to reducing stress, along with having their own advantages which make them more suitable to different types of people.

 

Published by Daphenee Plaisir