Everyone has their own reasons for making a decision to improve their life by participating in a fitness program. And while most people are concerned with losing weight and looking better, here are some of the many other potential benefits that a good fitness program will provide:
Loss of body fat
Do you know that when you attempt to lose weight by dieting alone, you end up losing some fat, but also lean muscle? Also, calorie restriction causes your body to slow down your metabolism, so as soon as you increase calorie intake again, the fat comes back on faster than ever. I’m sure many of you have experienced this in the past.
A strategy built around sound nutrition and exercise can help you maximize fat loss while maintaining or even gaining valuable lean muscle.
Unlike diets, a sound nutrition and exercise strategy will lead to a lifetime of stable weight, getting you off of the weight loss – weight gain roller coaster that comes with diets.
A fad diet may get you back into those pants again for a month, but a well thought out fitness lifestyle can keep you in them forever.
Contrary to popular perception, a fast or slow metabolism is not a gift or curse you are given at birth. It is easy to blame your metabolism for weight gain, but in reality, we are NOT the victims of our metabolism, rather we are the CREATORS of our metabolism.
While calorie restricted diets literally destroy your metabolism, a properly designed exercise and nutrition plan can dramatically fire up your metabolism so you burn more calories all day, every day.
Increased muscular strength and endurance
Whether you participate in competitive sports, or just participate in activities of daily living such as carrying your child up and down the stairs or lifting the groceries out of the car, increased strength will allow you to perform better.
Increased cardiorespiratory efficiency and endurance
Do you get winded just going up a flight of stairs? In less time than you think, a properly designed training program can deliver marked improvement in your endurance. Research has repeatedly shown that a regular exercise routine improves the performance of the cardiorespiratory system.
Do you realize that if you were able to reduce your resting heart rate by only 5 beats per minute, that would translate into 7200 fewer times per day your heart needs to beat? That is more than 50,000 fewer beats per week! That is a lot less work that our heart will need to do.
Increased bone, ligament, and tendon strength
Resistance training and weight bearing exercise not only strengthen the muscles but also strengthen the skeletal system and connective tissues as well.
This will greatly reduce your risk of injury, not just now, but make it a lot less likely that you will fall victim to the so-called inevitable hip replacement etc in later years.
Increased muscle mass
Along with an improved physical appearance, increased muscle mass causes you to burn more calories throughout the day. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue and is the furnace in your body where fat is actually used for energy.
More muscle means faster metabolism.
Reduction in resting blood pressure
Did you know that high blood pressure increases the risk for coronary heart disease, and can cause heart attacks or strokes? According to the American Heart Association, one in four adult Americans has high blood pressure, and nearly a third of them do not realize it.
Of the 50million sufferers, nearly half are women. While medications are often warranted, lifestyle changes including improvements in nutrition and regular exercise are key elements in the control of blood pressure. Many people find that they can reduce or remove their need for medications when they improve their lifestyles instead.
Improvements in cholesterol levels
Cholesterol, a fatty substance found in cells and blood, is necessary for many normal bodily functions. Unfortunately many people have cholesterol readings that are too high – 200 and above – putting them at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
If you are overweight, losing body fat can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, and as little as thirty minutes of intense exercise on most days can help improve overall cholesterol levels.
Decreased risk of diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes, where the body makes little or no insulin, is usually diagnosed in childhood. Currently there is no known way to prevent Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes usually occurs in adulthood and is far more common, making up 90% of all cases of the disease. Maintaining an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle are two of the main factors in preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
Decreased risk of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and bone fragility, which leads to increased risk of fractures. Men, as well as women suffer from it.
Studies have shown that resistance training and weight-bearing exercises are effective in increasing bone mineral density. In fact, exercise is more important than a high calcium intake. Your bones will only get stronger if they are stressed and need to adapt, just like your muscles.
Reduced risk of injury
As noted above, stronger muscles, bones, and connective tissue all contribute to reducing injuries. But regular exercise can also bring on improvements in balance, agility and muscle control that can help prevent slips and falls that could otherwise cause injuries.
Improved self-esteem and sense of well being
There is truth in the saying “When you look good, you feel good.” The positive changes brought on by a structured exercise and supportive nutrition program are not only physical. Increased confidence, energy, and vitality are all benefits of a fitness lifestyle.
Whether it is behind a desk at work, behind the wheel of a car, or on the couch watching TV, we all spend a lot more time than we should on our butts. These positions lead to lower back problems, weak and rounded shoulders, tight chest muscles, and a hunched over posture.
A properly designed exercise program can address these issues, and help undo the damage we unintentionally do to our bodies all day. By activating the muscles that don’t get used enough in our daily lives (like the whole posterior chain), bad posture and common complaints such as backaches can disappear.
Studies have shown that exercise causes the brain to release endorphins and other neurotransmitters that actually help to improve your mood and leave you relaxed. Many Bootcampers train solely for the mental aspects only.
Overall improved health
The health benefits of exercise have been known for thousands of years, as evidenced by this quote:
“Speaking generally, all parts of the body which have a function, if used in moderation and exercised inlabors to which each is accustomed, become healthy and well developed and age slowly. But, if unused and left idle, they come liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly.”Hippocrates 370BC
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