When it comes to health and fitness, most of us tend to think that exercise is the key to achieving optimal health. Part of this is true, but it is important to realize that certain exercises can actually be better for your health than others, depending on your individual goals, physical ability and nutritional needs.
The biggest mistakes made in health and fitness comes from people’s assumptions that the same exercises work for every individual.
“When developing a health and fitness plan, it’s important to realize that you are your own individual and an exercise that is right for someone else, may not be right for you,” says Dr. Sean Wells, a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the fitness expert at bistroMD. “Before you start developing your own fitness plan, it’s important that you consider your own individual needs and health conditions before you dive head-first into an aggressive workout.”
Health and Fitness for Specific Conditions
Whether you have high blood pressure, or diabetes, there are still health and fitness exercises you can do to improve these conditions.
If you have high blood pressure, Sean recommends doing basic fitness, like walking and jogging, and then increasing this to more rigorous, high intensity periods of exercise.
“Exercise actually makes your heart stronger,” says Sean. “A stronger heart requires less effort to pump blood, which decreases the pressure on your arteries. In turn, this helps lower your blood pressure.”
If you have high blood pressure, start out by either walking or jogging for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week. Gradually, you can start adding in more bouts of high intensity fitness, like running and swimming.
If you suffer from diabetes, there are health and fitness plans that can help you effectively cope with your condition.
“If you are overweight and suffering from diabetes there are exercises you can do to improve your condition,” says Sean. “Regular bouts of physical fitness actually help you lose weight, which helps keep your blood sugar at a normal level . By doing this, you are also helping lower your risk of heart disease substantially.”
Usually, aerobic exercises are recommended for people with diabetes, because they make you breathe more deeply and make your heart work harder.
“If you suffer from diabetes, it’s best to start out with exercises like walking, jogging, or biking,” says Sean. “You can gradually start adding in other exercises that focus on cardio and strength training, like sit ups, arm curls (with weights), and even yoga.”
Health and Fitness for a Longer Life
It’s no secret that regular weekly intervals of exercise can help you live a longer and fuller life. In addition to all of the physical benefits to your health, fitness can actually help improve your mood, and support a stronger mentality.
“Exercise is actually a great way to treat symptoms of depression and to relieve anxiety,” says Sean. “When you engage in rigorous fitness, your body releases stress and tension through neurotransmitters called endorphins that essentially make you relax and feel better. Exercise also reduces immune system chemicals that worsen depression, and the slight increase in your body temperature while working out can helps relieve other symptoms."
Exercise and fitness are very broad terms, so it’s important to understand that you don’t have to run laps around the gym, or do triathlons to engage in physical activity. Walking your dog, taking a stroll around the block, and parking further away at the grocery store are actually things we do on a daily basis that can help motivate us to do more rigorous activities.
“Health and fitness experts from all over the country actually promote regular bouts of exercise like this daily, instead of continuous rigorous activity all at once,” says Sean. “By gradually increasing the moving around in your daily life, you can motivate yourself to do more.”
Study after study has shown that exercising just 20 minutes daily can add at least a couple of years to your life, so there is no reason why you can’t stop living better today.