Renew your New Year’s Resolution – Exercise!

So we’re four months into the New Year. How are your resolutions going?

Last year 45% of Americans made New Years resolutions; of those 38% percent were related to health or weight-loss.  And the percentage of people who successfully stuck to their resolutions: 8%.

Yikes.

Motivation is hard.  It’s especially hard when you’re fighting against a number on a scale.  Or worse, when you’re fighting a vague “I don’t feel healthy but I don’t know why” sensation.

Well, here’s your motivation in a blog post.  In fact, if you have made an exercise-related resolution this year I challenge you to read this post every week.  Print it out and tape it to your fridge! (Or your forehead!)

Why exercise?

Regular exercise is extremely important for an optimally healthy body.  Our bodies were made to move!

Exercise is critical to combating depression, seasonal affective disorder, and anxiety.  Exercise improves mood by naturally increasing levels of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine – chemicals that make us relaxed and feel good.   Regular exercise helps relax tense muscles and is correlated with deeper, most restful sleep.  Working out on a consistent basis allows the body to become more efficient at burning and using calories, which leads to increased energy throughout the day.  Additionally, social exercise – like taking a run with a friend – is associated with higher incidence of general happiness.

Exercise is one of the best prescriptions for preventing future health problems.  Exercise prevents the growth of fat around the midsection which is associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Working out may decrease inflammation that leads to damaged blood vessels which may contribute to heart, liver, kidney and peripheral vascular diseases.   Exercise lowers total cholesterol while raising HDL or “good” cholesterol – both of these can reduce risk of heart attack or stroke.  Strength training can improve bone strength, prevent osteoporosis and prevent everyday injuries.  Too little exercise (or excessive amounts) is associated with poor immune function, leading to more frequent colds or flu’s. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, and decreases the chance of dying prematurely.   Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes by 30%!

Exercise is key to looking and feeling great!  Exercise tones your muscles and allows the body to become efficient at burning fat and utilizing energy – the calories you take in – for fuel.  Resistance training can increase muscle mass and every extra pound of muscle can burn up to 50-100 calories even at rest. Exercising also increases sweating which eliminates toxins and can help you skin look clean and fresh.  Regular exercise shapes the body and decreases fat around the abdomen, hips and thighs.  Resistance and flexibility training can keep the body limber to allow you to participate in activities that you enjoy the most.

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