One major law of physics states a body in motion will stay in motion until impeded, and a body at rest will stay at rest until impelled to move. Isn’t that so true?! Our bodies are designed to move. As creatures, we rely on our bodies to get us around, and our bodies rely on us to keep them well conditioned and in good working order.
But our typical American lifestyle has grown increasingly and frighteningly sedentary over the last few decades. From sitting all day at school to having a desk job, generally speaking, the work we do doesn’t require us to be active.
And we’re so unbelievably busy that fitting in time for exercise or fun, active hobbies is so hard! If you are on a quest to lose weight and restore your body’s health and vitality, including exercise as part of your journey is absolutely, critically important.
Muscle Building and Maintenance
Muscles are the metabolic powerhouses that convert the food we eat into energy. If your muscles aren’t moving enough, the calories you take in will not all be used and the leftover calories get stored as fat! Low-impact strength training results in your muscles working better, and raising your resting metabolism to keep burning calories even after you’re done working out! (Added benefit—you’ll be more toned too.)
Important Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic activity, aka cardio, is any activity that engages large muscle groups and increases your heart rate and respiratory rate without burning you out. Some examples include dance, biking, power walking, and jogging.
Aerobic activity causes an increase in blood-oxygen level which is great for strengthening the heart, blood vessels and the lungs. The more oxygen you have moving throughout the body means increased metabolism, energy and detoxification!
For these reasons aerobic exercise is superior to anaerobic exercise, which is any activity that is so strenuous that it causes your body to lose oxygen. High-impact exercises like sprinting long distances or extreme heavy weight-lifting are anaerobic, and can cause build up of lactic acid because the body needs oxygen to process it out. Too much lactic acid can result in pain, soreness and stiffness.
A good rule of thumb is the talking rule- when you’re exercising, you should be able to talk normally even though you’re breathing harder. If you can’t carry on a conversation, your intensity level may be too high.
Endorphins are the feel good chemicals that get released when we are happy. Exercise releases built-up tension and stimulates endorphin production and release making us feel better, happier, more peaceful, in less pain and overall much more holistically well.
Lymph is a clear fluid containing white blood cells (our immunity powerhouses) that moves through the body to clear out waste material and toxins. There are lymph nodes throughout the body whose function is to filter lymph to clear out the bacteria, viruses and toxins the lymph carries.
Our bodies rely on exercise and muscle movement to push lymph through the body. If we are sedentary, our system slows down and becomes sluggish, leading to buildup of toxins and waste material that can’t get out. Lymph is a critical part of our bodies’ ability to detoxify—exercise supports lymph movement—detoxifying is a key component to weight loss and overall vitality—so by supporting and engaging the lymphatic system, exercise helps the body detoxify and heal itself!
Exercise should always be included in a weight loss program, as well as be a part of our daily routines. Check with your doctor first to see what kind of exercise you can do, but make it a part of your life to help your body operate at its best and feel your best!