It’s feeling like spring outside, and after months of inactivity, now seems like the right time to start getting physically active. Read on to find out how exercise can benefit your health and longevity.
Activate Your Health with Exercise
Yes, exercise will give you a fit physique, but the benefits of daily exercise can be much broader than that. Regular exercise can help promote physiological well-being, strengthen the immune system, maintain joint mobility, increase energy – the list goes on and on.
In fact, research has confirmed that the more active you are, the longer you will live. In one study, the group that burned more than 3,500 calories a week lived the longest. It should come as no surprise that caged animals have more health problems and live a shorter life than free-range animals. So get out there and get active – your body will thank you for years to come!
Too out of shape? If you are recovering from an illness or just feel completely out of shape, begin slowly by exercising only five minutes a day — but do it every day. Incrementally increase the time by five minutes each week. By week four, you’ll be up to 20 minutes.
In my two decades of investigating the daily activities of centenarians, I found that everyone walked for at least 30 minutes a day, and most walked more than an hour. Aside from the proven benefits for your heart, walking is the perfect gentle exercise for cleansing your lymphatic system, increasing your circulation, and improving your digestion by helping food move along the digestive tract. If you are looking for a gentle movement exercise to improve your overall health, try my Self-Healing Qi Gong DVD. It will help sooth your spirit, release healing energy, tone your body and enhance balance.
Aerobics for a Healthy Heart
Your heart is a muscular organ that is responsible for pumping the blood’s nutrients and oxygen throughout your body, while simultaneously transporting waste products for elimination. The stronger your heart, the more tolerance you will have for stress and strain.
Strengthen your heart muscle by increasing your pulse rate to between 60 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR) when you exercise. (Hint: you can find your MHR by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you are 40, your MHR is 180 beats per minute. Your optimal range of 60 to 80 percent would be calculated as 108 to 144 beats per minute.) Practice an aerobic activity at this rate for 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week, to keep your heart pumping strong.
Aerobic exercises that focus on increasing cardiovascular endurance include bicycling, lap swimming, walking, and running. Frequent and consistent aerobic exercise has been found helpful in preventing or treating such serious conditions as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, and depression.
Build Your Bones
As we age, osteoporosis sets in and our bones begin losing calcium and become brittle. This condition affects the majority of the world’s population over the age of 70. No amount of calcium and vitamin D supplements can cure the condition; we must engage in exercise that exerts weight on the bones.
Look, for instance, at the experience of the astronauts. When astronauts were subjected to weightlessness in space, they underwent much more rapid bone loss than they would have on earth because there was no gravity to put weight on their bones.
A good way to help restore calcium to the bones is with moderate load-bearing exercises – but don’t worry about becoming a professional weight lifter. Even walking daily will have you bearing a moderate amount of weight and increasing bone density. I hope this article finds you feeling fit and healthy throughout your days.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He practices acupuncture, nutrition and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a Wellness Medicine group that won the “L.A.’s Best” Award. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica over 25 years ago. In addition, he is the cofounder and Chancellor of Yo San University in Venice/Marina del Rey. To subscribe to a free newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310-917-2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at firstname.lastname@example.org