What It Means To “Exercise”.

The mention of this 8 – letter word “EXERCISE” draws all kinds of reactions and images in people’s minds.     Pain.     Sweat.   Join a gym or health club.     Can’t do any exercise because I  __________.    a.  have bad knees     b.  have a bad heart    c.  have asthma    d.  have no time    e.   hate it.     f.   other     g.    all of the above ).    The list could go on.

Listen.   It’s been over 26 years of hearing people talk about about how they need to lose weight,  get into shape,  get rid of the body fat.     And it’s been over this same time span we’ve heard people contradict themselves,  give streams of excuses,   and talk about “shoulda,  woulda,  coulda done that”.     How much time do these folks spend explaining to others about how difficult it is to move their muscles (exercise) ??    If they could apply even 10% of that time to actually moving their muscles,   there could be some serious progress towards reshaping their bodies.

Fortunately we have seen a good number of people make significant changes in losing fat and weight.    There have also been the resultant improvements in health.     Life often follows the 80 – 20 rule.     In this case 20 percent make improvements and 80 percent are left just talking and going nowhere.     We at Hilltop would like to see this ratio change to where 100% lower their body fat and weight to levels that reduce many health risks such as cardiovascular disease,  diabetes,  arthritis and joint deterioration,  as well as reduced risk of falls.      That is the objective of this blog.

The aims of this blog are three-fold:

1.    To expand your view  of the benefits of exercise or physical activity toward your total well-being.

2.    Help you realize there are many opportunities to increase physical activity each and every day.

3.    There are three major categories of exercise and you need to do a mix of them all.

Aim #1.  Exercise done regularly has positive benefits.   Here is just a partial list:

Helps increase bone density.    Keeps fat stores under control.  Strengthens heart and vascular function.   Improves lung capacity.    Elevates energy levels.    Tones muscles.   Maintains joint function and flexibility.    Contributes to healthy brain function and alertness.    Promotes better digestion and intestinal movement.    Stimulates detoxification.     Helps extend longevity,  hormone balance.   Strengthens immune function.    Exercising and doing more physical activity every day is more than just about looking good or being slim.    As of this writing still many people are fixated on this benefit alone.    Sadly they often pursue courses of action that promise quick or easy results and never cultivate an understanding of the numerous other health benefits of daily physical activity.  

Aim #2.   Physical activity/exercise done in small intense spurts several times each day elevates your overall metabolism rate over time.    To experience high intensity exercise,  push hard against a wall for as long as you can.   Be sure to breathe regularly.  If you tire,  do not stop.   Ease up slightly for just a second and push again.    See if you can last for 3 to 5 minutes at least.     This activity is done again several more times during the day.    This series of high intensity exercise spurts nudges your metabolism to a higher rate to accommodate the workout load.     A higher metabolism rate uses fat and glucose (your body fuels) faster because more fuel is required to perform the more intense workload you place on your muscles.     After about a week you will probably find you can more easily keep strong pressure on the wall without tiring so quickly.    Your muscles have begun to adapt to a longer duration workload by increasing their ability to draw in the necessary fat and glucose (your fuels) from your bloodstream.     This adaptation signifies you have become a bit more fit.    This is exactly what happens when athletes train — they elevate the ability of their bodies to perform or do work.

Here are some exercise suggestions if you drive a lot for your job.    Do them while waiting for a red light or at rest stops:   steering wheel grips;   steering wheel chest presses;   body raises off your seat;  abdominal tightening;  palm-to-palm presses;  head-to-hand presses forward, backward, right, left; torso rotation;  overhead presses against car roof;   grasp your knees with your hands and slowly pull backwards — you get the idea.    Jog in place at rest stops and do assorted stretches for back, upper body and torso/legs.

If you work in an office,  use your breaktime and lunch to do high intensity exercise spurts.   Examples of things to do:   Get yourself a rubber exercise stretch tube/band of appropriate tension;  do half-squats for a few minutes nonstop;  do one-leg balancing;  do slow push-ups.

The more exercise spurts you do each day, the faster you boost your metabolism rate upward.   It’s that simple.

Aim #3.  Mix up your physical activity routines.    You won’t get bored and you’ll give a workout to all the muscles.   There are three major categories of physical activity:

  • cardiovascular — e.g. running, walking, bicycling, swimming
  • resistance — weights, elastic resistance tubing or bands, your own body weight (e.g. the push-up or squat), pushing against an immovable object.
  • balance — standing on one leg;  balance board;  simple yoga or tai chi positions where your center of gravity is shifted off-center.

Many types of physical activity incorporate two or even all three of these categories.    Experiment.   Be creative.   Unleash your imagination when you do physical activity.     You will always be doing something positive for your health and well-being.

Note:    If you have health issues,  injuries of different kinds,  or other physical or health limitations,  you need to make modifications.     And as always consult your doctor if you have any questions.

The health problems of today’s society are diverse and are occurring in greater frequency throughout populations of various ethnicities and age levels.    All of these health dilemmas are directly linked to insufficient physical activity in terms of both amount as well as intensity.     We hope you begin a new direction in your own health by incorporating some of these ideas as well as those of other health and fitness advocates.     It only takes a week or two to get into the groove of consistent application of some of the ideas and principles here.      Decades from now when your health is still robust and you are free of the common degenerative diseases that plaque today’s society,  you can give thanks to yourself and those who reconnected you to self-help healthcare. 



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