Getting fit and staying fit - the benefits of getting good exercise

Have you seen our Getting Fit and Staying Fit feature in this week's issue of 'The Nationalist' - Check it out now!
It’s that time of year again when the kids are back to school.

It’s that time of year again when the kids are back to school.

This is time for you to make a commitment to yourself not only for the coming season but for life.

The Need for Strength Training

Strength training is exercise that uses resistance to strengthen and condition the musculoskeletal system, improving muscle tone and endurance. “Strength training” is used as a general term synonymous with other common terms: “weightlifting” and “resistance training.”

The Benefits of Strength Training

Physiologically, the benefits of consistent strength training include an increase in muscle size and tone, increased muscular strength, and increases in tendon, bone, and ligament strength. Lifting weights has also been shown to improve psychological health as well, by increasing self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth.

Better sleep: exercise enables a better sleep pattern to develop

Weight loss: muscle burns more calories than fat because of the higher rate of metabolism within the muscle tissues

Strong bones: increased bone mineral density as a result of the imposed loads being placed upon the bone during the exercise sessions

Control of depression: you are active in a productive manner and the brain sends out endorphins signaling a happy pleasant state of mind during and after exercise

Decreased stress: you are doing something for YOURSELF


The No. 1 benefit of following an aerobic exercise plan is the change in your cardiovascular fitness that results from this kind of training regimen. Regular aerobic exercise causes your lungs to process more oxygen with less effort; your heart to pump more blood with fewer beats; and the blood supply directed to your muscles to increase. As a result, by performing cardiovascular exercises, you are increasing your body’s endurance and efficiency.

Additional Benefits

In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, other benefits of aerobic exercise include:

Weight loss: Combined with a healthy diet and appropriate strength training, aerobic exercise will help you lose weight.

Improved mental health: Regular aerobic exercise releases endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins also reduce stress, depression and anxiety.

Improved immune system: People who exercise regularly are less susceptible to minor viral illnesses such as colds and flu. It is possible that aerobic exercise helps activate your immune system and prepares it to fight off infection.

Increased stamina: Exercise may make you tired in the short term, i.e., during and right after the activity, but over the long term it will increase your stamina and reduce fatigue.

Disease reduction: Extra weight is a contributing factor to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and some forms of cancer. As you lose weight, your risk of developing these diseases decreases. In addition, weight-bearing aerobic exercise, such as walking, can reduce your risk of osteoporosis and its complications. Low-impact aerobic exercises, such as swimming, cycling and pool exercises, can help keep you fit if you have arthritis, without putting excessive stress on your joints.

Health Benefits of Excerise

Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active.It is essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age.

What Counts

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you are working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.One way to tell if your working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you cant sing the words to a song.

Recommended Physical Activity Levels

Children under 5 should do 180 minutes every day.

Young people 5-18 should do 60 minutes every day.

Adults 19-64 should do 150 minutes every week.

Older adults 65 and over should do 150 minutes every week.

Healthy eating can be really straightforward.

A diet based on starchy foods such as potatoes, rice and pasta; with plenty of fruit and vegetables; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils; some milk and dairy foods; and not too much fat, salt or sugar, will give you all the nutrients you need.

When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

The bottom line is, it is all about being consistent. Find something you like and stick to it. No excuses.