The question regarding the importance of exercise could not be more relevant in this time and age. With the rapid technological advances, which are aimed, specifically, at making life easier and completing tasks more efficiently; there is very little left that engages physical movement or activity especially for the working class. We no longer need to move from our desks to get lunch simply because we can do that with a click of a mouse or by pressing a button on our mobile phones.
All the small, frequent movements that contributed to our physical well-being have been replaced by machines. The only exercise left for us is with our fingers. We use them to press buttons when we are doing laundry using washing machines or washing up using dishwashers. We no longer write letters, we type. We no longer have time to walk on foot; we take a taxi or use the public transport.
And then there’s the biggest and most dangerous technological device ‘“ the television which has been birthing the increasing population of couch potatoes. TV is not all bad but most of it all and completely bad. It is estimated that an average 20-something adult watches at least 3 hours of TV a day which translates into about 20 hours a week. That is approximately 50 days a year sitting in front of a TV. 50 days of inactivity. This does not include the accompanying unhealthy refreshments and snacks while watching.
All these things are what we call a sedentary lifestyle which according to the Department of Health is known as the ‘ silent killer ‘. Dr. Cavill adds that ‘ Previous generations were active more naturally through work and manual labour, but today we have to find ways of integrating activity into our daily lives .’ Emphasis on ‘ have to ‘ because it is not a choice, exercising is a compulsory component to a healthy lifestyle.
What can you benefit from exercising?
A lot actually, and no matter how you try to weigh the pros and cons of exercising against not exercising; the scale will always lean towards exercising. The consequences of not exercising are far much worse than the benefits of exercising. In other ways, you pay too much; lose too much when you lead a sedentary lifestyle than when you choose to make exercising a priority, a significant part of your daily, frequent, must-do activity.
Disease prevention : The most common, preventable diseases are those whose predisposing factors include weight problems. I mean heart diseases (atherosclerosis), Diabetes, Gastritis & peptic ulcers, malignancies, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, respiratory diseases and many others. The fundamental principle is straightforward. Your metabolic activity is central in maintaining a healthy internal state called ‘ homeostasis ‘. This is mainly achieved by balancing what you ingest as energy-giving to your body and how you fuel that energy through exercise, mainly. Consequently, the good nutrients are absorbed and the bad ones are excreted. Eating a healthy diet is not enough unless it is accompanying with regular exercising.
Improve quality of life : Since regular exercise controls your weight, then your outward appearance directly reflects that. You look attractive and for some, that instills confidence. Regular exercise also improves your stamina, flexibility and strengthens your muscles. The more consistent you are with exercising, the more adaptive you become. Therefore, your baseline vital capacity increases and the effort you need to exercise gets less and less because your body is used to it. This also means that your increased flexibility lowers your chances of getting easily injured and improves your balance and coordination. People who exercise normally don’t have tensed up muscles from the daily stresses of life. Their mood is more often upbeat and the sleep very well at night, which is very nourishing to the body and plays another extremely crucial role in metabolism.
Increase your odds of longevity : The famous phrase ‘use it or lose it’ applies very accurately here. You want to be to walk until you are 80 years old; make sure you exercise those joints and avoid osteoarthritis. Take a walk every day; a brisk, leisurely walk is enough. Free your system from retaining harmful products to keep away debilitating and life-shortening diseases like cancer, heart attacks and diabetic complications. When you exercise you produce endorphins (happy emotions) that make you feel good about yourself. This in turn contributes to your mental well-being therefore preventing and reducing the chances of developing mental illnesses that have a likelihood of shortening lifespan.
As I mentioned earlier, exercising is more like a basic, daily necessity. It works hand in hand with diet. You make a plan to include it your everyday activity for the rest of your life. You can change it from time to time, but you cannot, should not remove it from your timetable ‘“ ever.
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