If you haven’t been paying attention to the latest news for exercise you may be in for a surprise. Nearly everything we thought we knew with respect to the value of exercise has gotten better. There are more reasons than ever before to support your weight loss efforts and boost your health at the same time by choosing exercise.
Because there has been a wealth of new research results that have come out in just the past few months, I thought I would give you an update. And I’ll point you to some articles you may want to read for additional information.
First I’ll give you an update on the relationship between exercise and health, then cover the latest in what works for getting started and sustaining motivation for exercise, and I’ll close with tips on how to succeed with exercise in less time.
What Exercise can do For You
I don’t know about you but I am much more likely to be motivated to take action when I understand the benefits for my efforts. Reasons to exercise are plentiful.
My tendency is to zero in on what might be most helpful for me. But don’t worry that I might not cover something important. I’ll continue to share whatever comes up in the news in the hope you discover benefits that resonate with you.
Sleep and Weight
Problems with sleep tend to be an issue with many Americans. Not getting enough sleep can in turn have a negative impact on weight management. Although the mechanisms are not fully understood, it seems that sleep deprivation disrupts normal and necessary biochemical reactions that regulate weight.
In addition to a lack of total sleep hours, the quality of sleep may suffer especially as we age. When we are doing well we tend to sleep, wake, and function based on our own unique internal clock.
But if our internal clock is disrupted by artificial light in the evening, odd work hours, and other reasons both the internal clock and associated circadian rhythms can impair sleep quality. Poor quality sleep may be equally as bad as not getting enough total sleep when it comes to weight management.
Out of sync circadian rhythms can result in other health problems as well such as increased risk for diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, memory loss, and depression. Fortunately it has now been clearly demonstrated that exercise helps regulate internal clocks and circadian rhythms.
Evidently, afternoon exercise may be the most beneficial for this regulation. However, scientists suggest that exercise will help at almost any time of the day with the exception of late at night just before you go to bed. Do find a time that works well for you.
Recent research by Dr. Christopher Kine of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine suggests that the more exercise you get the better you sleep. However, don’t get discouraged if you find it hard just getting started much less maintaining regular exercise. It seems that the most dramatic change in sleep quality was found for people who changed from doing no exercise to doing just a little light exercise. Exercise definitely matters.
Additional Exercise Benefits for Health
More Motivation for Exercise
If improved health and better sleep isn’t enough of a reason to spark your motivation, how about boosting your brain power? Would that do it for you? Virginia Hughes has an excellent article for exercise procrastinators on the National Geographic site.
Please don’t skip this article because you think it is just for aging boomers. Virginia has something that may spark your interest and hopefully your motivation to exercise no matter what your age!
You might also be interested to learn what it takes for some people to begin and stick with an exercise program. Evidently money works! Money is more important than health. Hmm…
If this speaks to you, how might you reward yourself with a bit of money? How about setting aside a certain small sum of money as a gift to yourself each time you exercise. It adds up over time and you can treat yourself to something nice such as a new outfit after losing some weight.
Another research study suggests that calorie counts on menus might be more helpful if exercise equivalents were included. For example, a donut might require walking 4 miles or more to burn off the calories. Getting a sense of how much exercise would be necessary seems to be more effective in getting a person to re-evaluate their choices than simply calories alone.
For a bunch more tips on sustaining motivation for exercise you’ll want to read an article entitled “The 38 Best Methods of Successful Exercisers” posted on the Zen Habits blog.
Making Time for Exercise
Lack of time to be more active might be an issue for you. I have trouble with that also. I was pleased to learn that less exercise may actually be better than more in certain circumstances.
In a recent study the women who exercised 4 days a week were equally as fit and burned more calories than those exercising 6 days a week.
The New York Times recently published an article on the amazing benefits of high intensity interval training. It seems that a scientifically researched and well-designed 7 minute INTENSE interval exercise regime can provide the same benefits as prolonged endurance exercise such as a long walk or run but in much less time.
Unfortunately I don’t see this exercise helping many people other than maybe those who are already in great shape! The routine is designed to be unpleasant and difficult so that it actually works. And the study authors encourage people to check with their physicians before attempting the very short but taxing routine!
O.k. that last piece about intense interval training may have been interesting but not helpful. Hopefully the rest of the article gave you some encouragement to get started with exercise and keep it up. If you have the time do follow up, read some of the many article links provided.
I re-evaluate what I do for exercise every so often. Right now I’m into walking as much as I can. I plan on doing a very long hike this summer. That works for me but it is time consuming. I also enjoy yoga and gardening. How about you? What do you do for physical activity?