If you had to make a choice between good nutrition or exercise, which one would you pick? Both are important, however, if I had to choose one to focus on, it would be exercise, especially when it comes to weight loss.
Why? A lack of exercise is a major cause of premature aging, stress, weight gain, heart disease and arthritis. Exercise can turn back your biological clock, meaning you can be physically younger than your actual age in years, no matter what your age may be. You are never too old to exercise.
When you break a sweat, chemicals are released into your bloodstream that can actually help repair your body internally. Regular workouts are so good for your cardiovascular system, fitness and endurance level, memory and mental acuity, plus you will burn calories in the process.
Unfortunately, good nutrition alone is not enough to keep us healthy. Consistent exercise can help cure bad eating habits as you tend to not be too hungry right after a workout. Another benefit of regular exercise is you can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, improve and even heal painful, arthritis symptoms. Yoga is a great exercise to accomplish all of the above and in many cases, turn around damaged areas in the body, in particular, the lower back.
You may be intimidated to walk into a gym or fitness center or find strength training too much work, however, start slow and you will build up your strength, balance, coordination and even brain function. Regular strength training workouts keep your brain's neurotransmitter connections active and prevent them from becoming dormant.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn just sitting here reading this article. Muscle increases your metabolism, which burns body fat faster making it easier to lose weight. It may not show up on the scale right away because muscle does weigh more, so focus on how you look, feel and how your clothes are fitting. It is much more fun!
It is truly inspiring when you see someone carrying an oxygen tank around with them to each machine at the gym or another in a wheelchair exercising their arms to increase their cardiovascular endurance. One of my clients had suffered a stroke and was forced to exercise with a very weak leg and limp arm. Another had survived severe cancer treatments, was very weak during workouts and somewhat limited on exercises performed but was able to get much stronger. Of course, you always see plenty of overweight people in the gym and I salute them for making an effort to get healthy again.
There is no excuse for not exercising. Our bodies are meant to move and it is a privilege to be able to exercise. It is up to us individually to schedule a time each day for us to exercise and work our bodies. Exercise releases endorphins (those feel-good hormones) which make you happy, and happy people are a joy to be around, don't you think? Exercise is a great way to release stress. You cannot always get that from eating a piece of chocolate.
Find an exercise you enjoy doing and can look forward to on a consistent basis. It might be a class at your local gym, YMCA or studio. My favorite exercise classes to teach are Yoga, Pilates, Body Sculpting, Step, and low-impact Aerobics. As an instructor, I became addicted to exercise years ago and still teach to this day. It has paid off with a strong body and mind. I wish you the same and great workouts!