Read these 19 Benefits of Fitness Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Womens Fitness tips and hundreds of other topics.
Exercise over the long term has been proven to improve brain function. It increases oxygen levels and blood flow to the brain while increasing levels of chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are associated with cognition.
Fitness workouts are also proven to prevent “senior moments.” After the age of 30, the brain starts to lose tissue in areas associated with cognition and memory. Exercise increases neurogenesis, the production of neurons, and thus prevents loss of tissue, improves memory and keeps the brain young. Physical activity has also been proven to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
If you can't fit in 30 minutes of exercise a day, make sure that you exercise for at least 20 minutes on most days of the week to ensure peak physical fitness and increase brain function.
One of the best benefits of fitness is the increase in energy you get from fitness workouts. It can be hard to exercise when you feel fatigued, but it only takes a little physical activity to increase your energy levels. Sedentary people who participate in a regular exercise program reported increased energy when compared to people who did not exercise, according to a 2006 University of Georgia study.
It is normal to experience some fatigue after exercising, but this usually fades after a half an hour or so. The more consistently you work out, the faster your body will adjust to exercise. As your body gets accustomed to your physical fitness routine, it will take less time to recover and you will experience more of an energy boost. If you are involved in a particularly strenuous or intense workout, make sure you get enough sleep and rest between workouts.
Trying to lose a few extra pounds you packed on during the holidays? You've tried cutting calories, eating smaller portions and even eliminated all junk food from your diet but those stubborn pounds just won't go away. You've reached the dreaded “diet plateau,” which usually happens after your body adjusts to a decreased calorie intake.
Diet alone will not eliminate those few extra pounds around your middle. If you want a way to keep off the pounds permanently and revitalize your diet, you must develop a regular fitness workout routine. Exercise helps you burn off extra calories that would otherwise be stored as fat.
Most fitness articles recommend moderate cardio for 30 to 40 minutes four times a week to burn fat and keep the weight off, but the amount of exercise varies according to your size and weight goals. If you are trying to lose weight you will need to work out more than if you are trying to maintain your weight. If you have been working out regularly and aren't seeing results, increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts. Switch up your workout routine so you are using different muscle groups. Try a new weight machine, or go for a swim instead of using the treadmill.
Insomnia is one of the more common problems reported among postmenopausal women. If you are one of those who suffer with sleep problems, factor regular fitness workouts into your schedule.
Studies show that morning exercise can help you fall asleep, while exercise at night can make it harder to fall asleep. Though researchers are unsure as to why regular morning aerobic activity helps people catch Z's, some believe that exercise helps steady your body's natural Circadian rhythms and also stabilizes stress hormones. Exercise can also help you fall into a deeper sleep, faster. If you have Insomnia, avoid working out three to four hours before you go to bed and instead try relaxation exercises such as stretching, yoga or tai chi. Increased rest and relaxation is only one of the many benefits of physical fitness.
Recent health and fitness articles published by the Archives of Internal Medicine suggest that exercise can cut the risk of breast cancer by up to 20 percent. Many doctors highly recommend exercise to women who have a history of breast cancer in their family or are at an increased risk.
Just a few fitness workouts per week can also help women who already have breast cancer. Though exercise is not a substitute for medical treatment, researchers have found that physical activity can help those with breast cancer fight the disease. Exercise can increase flexibility and strength, and can deter weight gain and fatigue associated with chemotherapy. Women who do decide to do physical activity while on chemotherapy may need to adjust their fitness plans on a day-to-day basis, depending on fatigue levels. It is very important to monitor all fitness activities while undergoing treatment and follow a progressive fitness plan that is not too strenuous. Women with breast cancer may enjoy working out in groups with other breast cancer survivors.
Not only does exercise boost metabolism, it also improves the condition of your heart. Regular exercise can help treat medical issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease among other things.
High Cholesterol: When you exercise your body produces more “good” cholesterol and decreases the production of “bad” cholesterol. This lowers the plaque buildup in the arteries and also prevents inflammation of your arteries.
High Blood Pressure: The more you exercise, the stronger your heart becomes. If you exercise regularly your heart will pump blood more easily, putting less of a strain on your heart and thus lowering your blood pressure. It can take up to three months of regular exercise to see results, so keep with your fitness workout routine and don't give up.
Heart Disease: Most people know that exercise lowers your risk of heart disease. Exercise improves your blood circulation and delivers oxygen and other nutrients to your tissues. Recent studies showed that people who start to exercise regularly after a heart attack have a better chance of survival.
It is never too late to start improving your physical fitness. Go for a walk around the block today, or run up and down your stairs a few times. Everyone has to start somewhere!
Strength training not only tones your body, it will boost metabolism so you will burn more calories at rest.
Here's how: When you exercise with weights regularly (twice a week will do it), you build up the proportion of muscle in your body compared with fat. Muscle burns more energy that fat when you're working out, watching TV, and even when you're asleep and studies show that your metabolism stays boosted by as much as 20 percent for several hours after an intense strength training session.
And remember that the more you burn, the more “discretionary calories” you have to spend, so whether your goal is weight maintenance or weight loss, boosting your metabolism with strength training makes it easier to factor dessert (in moderation, of course) into your diet!
Need some fitness help or inspiration? If you want to start a new sport or fitness activity or if you move to a new city , local sports clubs can be great sources of fitness help. A local running or cycling club can provide companionship if you want workout buddies, or just information about safe areas to run or ride.
Thanks to the Internet, you can research local fitness groups, but you are no longer confined to your local area. You can team up online with like-minded fitness enthusiasts across the country for fitness help and support. Check out the websites of women's fitness magazines for resources. You'll find online message boards where you can post questions and share your own tips and advice.
If you are an experienced exerciser but you are joining a new gym, talk to the staff for helpful fitness advice about how to use the weight machines and fitness equipment. Not all gyms have the same brands of equipment, and the settings on the treadmills, stair-climbers and weights may be different from machines that you have used in the past. Be sure to check with the gym staff if you need help adjusting any equipment, because doing a workout on a machine that is not adjusted for your body size can lead to injury. For example, if you adjust the seat on an exercise bike too high or too low, poor body alignment can strain your hips, knees or ankles.
The bottom line: Ask questions if you're not sure how to adjust a machine to the correct position for your size.
If you want to jump-start a fitness program or if you are new to regular exercise, consider a few sessions with a certified personal trainer for even more personalized fitness advice and instruction.
Are you looking for a one-stop shop for fitness information? True fitness means more than a healthy body; it's a healthy mind and spirit, as well. Women's fitness magazines not only offer the latest moves to help you shape up or slim down, they have advice on how to reduce stress and tone up your relationships, too.
In addition, some women's health and fitness magazines offer online bonuses (some are free) that let you sign up for calorie-counting tools, nutrition tools and other fitness advice guides. You can customize your workouts or your diet plan, and you can network with other people who are interested in women's health and fitness by logging onto the magazines' message boards.
The benefits of fitness go beyond building your strength and endurance. Improving your fitness will boost your self-esteem and enhance your body image. Studies consistently show that women who exercise regularly report feeling better about themselves compared with non-exercisers.
Make exercise a part of your life and you'll look even sexier in your favorite clothes, your posture will improve and you'll feel stronger and better prepared to deal with the stresses of work, family and everyday activities.
And fitness benefits your mind, as well as your body. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and just a brisk walk does wonders for a case of the blues.
Although this book is primarily about fitness advice, the benefits of a healthy diet should also be addressed. Your diet is your fuel for your fitness program. Without a healthy diet, your fitness performance will be less than optimal. Let's look at some of the benefits of a healthy diet.
Weight Control: This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of a healthy diet. It stands to reason that if you feed your body food that is loaded with nutrients, you will use these nutrients for energy. In contrast, if your diet is loaded with empty calories, these calories will not be used. Instead, they will be converted to fat.
A diet rich in whole grains and fiber will prevent constipation, and thus aid in weight loss. Furthermore, the B vitamins found in whole grains help release the energy from protein, fats and carbohydrates. This will in turn speed up your metabolic rate. The result: You will burn more calories throughout the day.
Water is perhaps one of the most overlooked nutrients that aid in weight control. Water aids in elimination and makes us feel full after eating. Additionally, staying hydrated will give you more energy during your workouts.
Disease Prevention: A healthy diet will help prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in salmon may alleviate the symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis.
Be sure to read the section of this book about nutrition for women.
Of all the fitness and outdoor activities that are popular today, running probably offers the best opportunity for making new friends. The running community has its own prolific culture, which extends throughout the entire world. Whether you are a single gal looking to meet an active single guy, a business woman looking to build her network, or someone who has moved to a new town and wants to make friends, you will most likely find who you are looking for by joining a running program. Most towns or cities have their own running clubs. Even if you choose not to race, these clubs usually sponsor a number of parties.
Many companies also sponsor a number of corporate races. Competing in these races is a great way to show your team spirit. Who knows? Participation in these races may help you get that promotion you were looking for.
Running is also a great way to give to the charity of your choice. There are a number of races that benefit research for AIDS, Breast Cancer and other diseases. All you need to do is collect sponsors from your friends, co-workers and family members.
Since studies have shown that people who have a strong network of friends are physically and mentally healthier, beginning a running program is not only a great way to get in shape; it will improve your social life and your outlook on life!
It's a warm summer day. You look out your window, and you see a women running up a hill. The glow of perspiration soaks her body. You wonder, “Why does she do it?” There are many good reasons. The health benefits of running far outweigh the initial discomfort that you might feel when you first begin a running program.
Many women's health and fitness experts suggest running as an ideal activity for weight control. Provided that you do not have any chronic muscular-skeletal injuries, this is perhaps the best fitness advice you can get! Depending on your speed, a 130 pound woman can burn between 114 and 200 calories in a 20-minute running workout. If you add hill training, this number can be even higher! Running will also boost your metabolism, thereby elevating your metabolic rate for up to two hours after your workout. This means that you will be burning more calories even if you are sitting at your desk!
According to the National Weight Control Registry, an organization that tracks the progress of people who have successfully maintained a 30 pound weight loss, running 25 to 30 miles a week is the optimal mileage required for weight loss. Depending on your speed, this will amount to about 30 to 45 minutes daily.
If you are more than 10 pounds overweight, losing weight will have significant positive effect on your health. Some of the benefits of losing weight include a reduction of susceptibility to the following health risks:
Health Risks of Being Overweight:
Heart Disease and Stroke
If you are overweight, you might have the following conditions that may leave you susceptible to heart disease and stroke:
Type Two Diabetes has been associated with being overweight.
Being overweight is associated with a higher risk of cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast and colon cancer.
Since women tend to gain weigh around their lower bodies, one of the benefits of losing weight include relief from the knee and back pain caused by osteoarthritis. In fact, exercise may even be able to prevent osteoarthritis.
Back in the 1980s, scientists discovered a brain chemical that exhibited remarkable morphine-like qualities. In minute amounts, this chemical (beta-endorphin), was found to reduce sensations of pain. Studies also showed that beta-endorphins could promote feelings of euphoria and exhilaration while reducing feelings of depression and anxiety. The good news is that you do not have to take beta-endorphin pills! This miraculous chemical is synthesized during aerobic activity. For this reason, cardiovascular exercise is now an important part of stress reduction programs, pain management programs, and self-care for depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.
Other studies have shown that moderate aerobic exercise can also enhance performance on memory and thinking tasks including addition problems, recall of numbers and words, perception and discrimination of geometric figures, and organization. Although it is still unclear as to why cardiovascular exercise has this effect, some researchers think that the rhythmic, repetitive motion of cardiovascular activities might offer a meditative quality to exercise. It is possible that these activities are capable of shifting dominant brain activity from the left to the right side, which results in increased mental receptivity, as well as a greater imagination and creativity to apply to problem solving.
Healthy women, as well as women with cardiovascular disease, can improve their general health through aerobic exercise. This welcome improvement is the result of your cardiovascular system's increased ability to use oxygen to derive energy for work. How does this happen?
Cardiovascular training increases maximum oxygen uptake by increasing both maximum cardiac output, which is the volume of blood ejected by the heart per minute. This in turn determines the amount of blood that will be delivered to the working muscles, as well as the ability of muscles to extract and use oxygen from blood. Simply put, the more oxygen that is sent to your muscles, the more energy you will have throughout the day. According to extensive studies, middle aged women who work in physically strenuous jobs have fewer incidences of coronary artery disease than their inactive co-workers.
Aerobic exercise has a favorable effect on your lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Sophisticated research has shown that this exercise-induced increase in high-density lipoproteins boosts metabolism, which in turn results in significant weight loss. According to the American Heart Association, increases in these high-density lipoproteins have been found in women who exercise at higher levels of recreational running. This is one of the important health benefits of running.
Cardiovascular fitness can also alter your body composition. By reducing body fat, you will also reduce your susceptibility to cardiovascular, disease, diabetes, cancer and muscular/skeletal disease. Even milder forms of exercise can boost metabolism.
If you have ever spent any time in Italy, you will note that while there is an abundance of heavy, delicious food, in the major Italian cities, you will rarely see people who are significantly overweight. This is due to the Italian tradition of passegiata, which involves taking a walk to digest the evening meal.
If you are a smoker, the best piece of fitness advice someone can give you is to quit. Surprisingly, the benefits of quitting smoking happen immediately. For example, 20 minutes after your final cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse rate will drop and the body temperature in your hands and feet will increase. After eight hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood will drop towards normal, while the oxygen level in your blood will increase to normal. When you've made it to 24 hours without a cigarette, your chance of a heart attack has already begun to decrease. At 48 hours, you start to re-grow the nerve endings that have been damaged by smoking and your ability to smell and taste begins to improve.
Between the periods of two weeks to three months without a cigarette, you will start to notice that your circulation is improving. You will be coughing less, and you will have less of a tendency towards sinus infections. Shortness of breath will gradually disappear, which means that you will actually enjoy your aerobic workouts.
Hopefully, this has motivated you to substitute your smoking habit with your new exercise habit!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|