Exercise can be enjoyable!


Everyone has been told that exercise is important.  But it is not just important; it is crucial for daily living.  Multiple studies have proved that 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise a day, 5 days a week will prevent weight gain and type 2 diabetes. It will improve weight loss and decrease the risk of developing cancer and heart attacks.  30 minutes a day.  Everyone has 30 minutes to take a break from his or her hectic lives and focus on their health.  30 minutes a day is taking the dog out for a walk or going to a group fitness class at the gym.   It could be playing music and dancing while cooking dinner.  Guess how many calories can be burned dancing to 10 songs.  50? 100? 150? 400.  Up to 400 calories can be burned dancing to 10 of your favorite songs.   Dancing is considered a cardio exercise because of its intense body movement and how much the heart rate increases.   People of all sizes and ages have different maximum heart rates.  To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220 beats per min (bpm).  But remember to talk to the doctor before, to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise at that intensity.   Remember, exercise does not have to push your body to the brink of exhaustion.  It can be deemed a successful workout when the heart rate has remained above its resting level for 30 minutes and when there is sweat on your brow. 

   Many people do not feel comfortable at gyms.  Gyms are not meant for everyone. In order to exercise as often and as long as advised, people need to find a form of exercise they love.  Some people love running.  Other people would rather be eaten by the tiger than be forced to run away from it.  Finding the soul mate of exercise can only be revealed to you.  There is a form exercise for everyone.  Whether it’s spinning, rock climbing, Zumba, or hiking.  It is important to never give up on trying new things until you find your passion.  Once that passion is found, exercise will not feel miserable.  It will be something to look forward to every day.   

Exercise is known to be a stress reliever, so it is a luxury to leave work and perform an activity where the stressors are relinquished while the heart rate is raised.

  There are ways to trick the body to exercise.  The thought of performing an exercise can be daunting.  However, there are ways to “trick” the body to exercise.  A couple tricks are to park far away from work and walk then walk to the office.  Parking 15 minutes away will check off the 30 minutes of exercise for the day.    Another trick is to take the stairs.  It might seem tedious to do so but every bit of exercise counts.   Finally, an essential activity that everyone needs to schedule into his or her life is walking around for five minutes after every hour of sitting.  Standing up after an hour of sitting helps blood circulation flow better in the veins, arteries and all the capillaries.  Blood can pool in the extremities when a person is sitting for a long period of time.   Too often people stand up quickly, feel lightheaded and potentially pass out.  Standing up and walking around for 5 minutes will prevent the blood from pooling and keep the blood flow optimal.

It is very important to nourish the system.  Drinking plenty of fluids during and after exercise is crucial.  Water is the best fluid to consume because of the lack of sugar.  However, electrolyte drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde are useful in humid conditions, when there is a lot of sweat-loss.  Snacking afterwards is important for replenishment as well! Peanut butter on bananas, homemade energy bars, and granola and yogurt are delicious and nutritious snacks! 

See? Living a healthy and active lifestyle does not have to be miserable.  Feel free to leave a comment on what you do to stay fit!

This blog is written by Mikaela Blackmer, a student intern of Valley Nutrition Counseling with a major in Kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst