Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How much is your health and fitness ACTUALLY helping you?

It’s the end of the year, and for many of us the motivation to lose weight, get healthy, or become more fit from our “2013 New Year’s Resolution” has been dwindling for the past 12 months. However, its time to re-gain that motivation and find ourselves again. Find new goals for the upcoming year, and discover again why we do what we do.

Have you ever wondered how much your health and fitness ACTUALLY helps you in the long run? Everyone knows the basics when it comes to the benefits of staying physically active -- something along the lines of a healthier heart, stronger muscles/bones, and a good source of stress relief. But, have you have thought about it more in depth? At a more physiological level? Our bodies are amazing and react extremely well to exercise. Just exercising 20-30 minutes a day can increase your health dramatically. In ways that you might not be aware of yet.

The leading cause of death in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease (CVD). There are multiple risk factors that can cause CVD. Some are out of our control, while others are not. It’s the changeable risk factors that I want to discuss. There are four leading risk factors that we have control of - High Blood Pressure (Hypertension), High Cholesterol, Smoking, and Physical inactivity. The number of Americans that are at risk for CVD because of these changeable risk factors are alarming.

10% of Americans are at risk for CVD because of high blood pressure.
10% are at risk because of high cholesterol.
18% are at risk because of smoking.
A whopping 58% of Americans are at risk because of physical inactivity.

Over half of our population are putting themselves at risk simply because sitting at home is easier than getting out and being active! However, by being physically active, you are not only eliminating that off of the changeable risk factors list, but you are essentially eliminating all four risk factors. Exercise reduces high blood pressure, it decreases your cholesterol, and helps individuals quit smoking.

Some other factors that you are preventing by simply being physically active are as follows:
reducing stress, reducing risk/ helping with osteoarthritis, helping increase your metabolism, reducing your risk of osteoporosis, helping maintain insulin/glucose levels, and helping with hormone regulation. Those are only a few of the many positive things that being physically active does for you. Not everyone exercises for the same reason, but I am sure that within this list at least some of you, if not most of you, can find a reason that drives you to walk into the gym every day.