We hear it all the time – get in shape and reduce disease risk. It’s an excellent concept to work towards, but how to go about it is easier said than done. Where do you start? What types of physical activities help you achieve this goal?
The best types of exercises or physical activities are those that meet both your goals of getting fit while at the same time making you healthier and less likely to develop a chronic disease.
They keep your weight under control as they burn off calories, improve your balance and range of motion, strengthen your bones, protect your joints, and possibly stave off memory loss.
Here are the five exercises that meet the above criteria making you fitter and healthier for years to come. Discover which one(s) meet your needs best:
No matter your age or if you haven’t lifted a weight in years, pumping iron is a must. From young to old, the health advantages of strength training benefit us all. Muscles are meant to move; if we don’t stress them by lifting weights, they eventually will become smaller and weaker. Then, at some point in your life, you’ll notice the amount of strength you’ve lost just from not demanding their use.
Besides improving and maintaining strength, a critical reason is that muscles burn calories. The more muscle mass, the higher calorie burn you will experience, making it easier to maintain weight. Here’s another “muscle” that can get strengthened while lifting dumbbells – your brain. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that weightlifting twice weekly for six months significantly improved memory in women with early cognitive decline.
Strength training can also relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, improve balance, preventprevent falls, increase bone density, reduce fracture risk, and enhance sleep quality.
If lifting weights for the first time, start light with just one or two pounds. Working with a trainer is ideal as they can help you work on proper form when lifting.
Walking is probably the simplest and most effective exercise we can do. This wonder move has many benefits – it can manage your weight, lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol while raising healthy HDL cholesterol, strengthens bones, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, and reduces your risk of several chronic diseases.
Before starting a walking routine, an important “step” is to have a pair of sneakers that fit and support your feet. Nothing is worse than walking in a pair of poor-fitting shoes that hurt your feet. If just getting started, walk for only about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Over a few weeks, gradually increase the pace and length of your walking workouts until you walk up to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.
Often referred to as the perfect exercise, swimming is a superior workout and fun to do. Whether you participate in a water aerobics class or swim lap after lap, swimming burns many calories helping you tone up while enjoying a refreshing physical activity.
Anyone who suffers from joint pain will especially find water workouts an activity they look forward to. The buoyancy of the water will support their body as it eases the strain off of painful joints, making them feel better.
Swimming, one of the best aerobic exercises, may also improve your mental state by putting you in a good mood. Research has found swimming reduces tension and fatigue while improving the energy and activity levels of individuals who use it as a physical exercise.
Nicknamed “meditation in motion,” this ancient Chinese martial art may not appear to have numerous health benefits but don’t count it out. Growing evidence shows the value of tai chi in treating or preventing many health problems. And the best thing about it is a person does not have to be in excellent physical condition or the best of health as it is easily adapted for anyone, from someone very fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.
Tai chi involves dozens of postures and gestures in sequences known as “sets” or “forms” derived from animal movements. Think of it sort of like slow-motion karate or swimming in the air. For the sets to be done correctly, learning controlled breathing, concentration, shift your body weight, and relax your muscles is essential.
Tai chi’s worldwide popularity is the extraordinary health claims made on its behalf. A growing body of evidence from research has built a compelling case for tai chi to be used for the prevention and rehabilitation of many health conditions. From helping to ease depression, reduce falls in the elderly, and improve coordination and balance to relieving chronic pain and arthritis, this form of movement appears to do it all.
Do you remember the fun of jumping rope? Then this may be the exercise for you. Maybe not for those with physical limitations; nonetheless,, jumping rope is a simple yet complex activity ranking high as a bone builder, improves balance and coordination, increases muscle endurance and strength, improves cardiovascular fitness, enhances reflexes, and even boosts your brain health.
Jumping rope for ten minutes a day will offer benefits similar to 30 minutes of jogging, two sets of tennis singles, 18 holes of golf, or 30 minutes of racquet and handball playing.
In addition, jumping helps develop the brain’s left and right hemispheres, improving special awareness, reading skills in children, memory, and mental alertness. Even the American Heart Association endorses jumping rope as a critical physical activity for heart health.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.