The benefits of fitness

There are many benefits to having a regular fitness routine. The USDA has made key recommendations on physical activity. They suggest:

  • To reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood: Engaging in at least 30 min of moderate-intensity physical activity, above usual activity, at work or home on most days of the week.
  • To help manage body weight and prevent gradual, unhealthy body weight gain in adulthood: Engaging in approximately 60 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week while not exceeding caloric intake requirements
  • To sustain weight loss in adulthood: Participate in at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.

*Some people may need to consult their healthcare provider before participating in this level of activity.

Participating in normal physical activity will also boost confidence, increase energy, assist in weight loss, and much more. Working out can increase muscle mass which in turn supports bones from fractures and breaks. Exercise also promotes mental health. During exercise, endorphins are released which cause feelings of bliss.

Find a Way
It is easy to find an excuse not to work out, so it is important to have a routine and stick to it! There are small things that can be done that increase calories burned throughout the day. Examples of these include taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking farther away from the door at work or when running errands. Stretching in the morning and/or in the evening is also a good habit to get into. Stretching improves flexibility and decrease chances of injury. If finding time to get to the gym is difficult, try using every day objects found at home such as water bottles and stairs which can replace dumbbells and machines.

Nutrition and Physical Activity
Obesity trends in the United States are continuing to rise. Three years ago there was hope for overall percentages to drop by year 2010, yet current percentages have risen uncontrollably! Being physically active is the way to counteract obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Statistics show that the more fruits and vegetables a person consumes, the more physically active they are. Obtaining a healthy weight is about more than just short-term dietary changes. A lifestyle change is necessary that includes regular exercise and healthy eating.

Exercise and Weight Control
Exercise plays an important role in weight control. The better one understands this relationship, the easier it is to accept and take advantage it. Many health problems are associated with excess body fat. Some of these include coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis and certain forms of cancer. Some evidence now exists showing that health and longevity are both affected negatively by obesity.

Supplements
Some dietary supplements can be used in conjunction with a fitness routine to help the body adapt and function its best.

B-Vitamins: This group of water soluble vitamins includes thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12). When these are all used together, it is referred to as a B-complex. B vitamins are important in cellular metabolism and are cofactors in many reactions. Some of the functions they are necessary for include energy, amino acid and protein metabolism, synthesis of red blood cells and neurotransmitters, and DNA and RNA synthesis. A research study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism revealed that athletes with low B vitamin levels have decreased high-intensity exercise performance and are not as efficient at repairing damaged muscle or building muscle mass when compared to individuals with adequate intake of B vitamins in the diet.

Amino Acid: In human nutrition, certain amino acids are essential and must be consumed within the diet. The body has many uses for amino acids. One important purpose of amino acids is to serve as building blocks for proteins. This process involves long, linear chains of amino acids which bind together to form convoluted protein molecules. Arginine is a specific amino acid commonly used in supplements. It is necessary for the formation of creatine, is a precursor for nitric oxide, can reduce healing time of injuries and quickens repair time of damaged tissue.

Protein: A protein is composed of long chains of amino acids bound together by peptide bonds, forming a complex molecule. Proteins function in many ways in the body. Proteins act as signal messengers and receptors, enzymes are composed of proteins, and they form structural components. When proteins are consumed, they are broken down by digestion to serve numerous functions.

Creatine: Athletes involved in high-intensity workouts use a lot of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The human body uses ATP to produce energy by breaking the bond between phosphate groups forming adenosine diphosphate (ADP). A phosphate group must be donated to ADP to regenerate ATP – creatine phosphate does this. Of the creatine naturally found in the body, about 95% is located in the muscle.

Electrolytes: An electrolyte is a substance that contains free ions. Some of the common electrolytes are sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), chloride (Cl-), magnesium (Mg2+) and calcium (Ca2+). Electrolytes affect the muscle actions, hydration levels and blood acidity among other functions in the body. The body loses electrolytes through sweating, so during exercise it is important to replace them by drinking fluids.

Read more about vitamins and supplements here.