Burning Calories Every way Possible – Exercise for Life!


Mark Twain once said “the only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” Many people appreciate Twain’s witty aphorism. But it’s a common misconception that maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and wise food choices is joyless and onerous.

The statistical evidence shows exactly the opposite. Exercise is a contributing factor in overall happiness. People who exercise are less stressed, less likely to suffer from depression, develop better sleeping patterns, have more self-esteem, and better health1.

Exercise is all the more important considering today’s staggering obesity statistics. One out of three adults in Americais obese, and obesity among adolescents and children has tripled since 19802. Obesity is linked to diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and osteoarthritis3. And studies have shown that exercise combined with a healthy diet can produces significant weight loss, and as a consequence, can drastically improve your health, quality of life, and length of life4.

Exercise Overview

Exercise is supposed to be fun and energizing, and if those elements are lacking from your workout plan, then it probably means you’re pushing yourself too hard too soon. Exercise isn’t something you do in intense binges. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise has to be a sustainable part of your life. As such, your workout plan should develop in a slow, easy progression toward your long-term goals.

The first step in making exercise a part of your life is to know the different types of exercises and build a workout plan based on your specific needs. Exercises are divided into two groups, aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic (cardio) exercise comprises physical activates that strengthen your heart. Anaerobic activity strengthens your skeletal muscles. Doctors recommend that you get a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises in order to improve your heart and muscle strength.

The traditional aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, swimming, and biking. But if you’re looking for ways to spice up your fitness program you can also get a cardio workout from nontraditional exercises like dancing, backpacking, soccer, or water aerobics. The most common anaerobic exercise is strength training, but you can also get a muscle workout from alternative exercises like rock climbing or kickboxing.

All you need is 150 minutes of exercise a week to help prevent heart disease and other health conditions. And 60 to 90 minutes of exercise five times a week to experience sizeable weight loss, but clocking in that much exercise can be difficult with our busy schedules.

The key to a healthy lifestyle is making exercise a major priority. You also have to learn how to exercise anywhere and everywhere, making the best use of whatever your schedule throws at you. If you wait for the perfect time to exercise, you’ll never start. That means learning how to exercise not only at the gym but at home, in the office, and in hotel rooms. Standard exercises like pushups, sit ups, jumping jacks, and walking lunges are just a few things you can do whenever you have a few minutes of free time.

The most important thing is to develop a fitness program that suits you. Every person’s routine is going to be different. You need to tailor the exercise intensity, frequency, and type based on your fitness level and age. It’s important that children get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. The best way to accomplish this is simply to take your child to the playground or encourage him or her to play in the backyard. There are several studies that show the amount of TV watched by chilren is directly linked to poor health. The more TV they watch, the worse their overall health, which often carries over to adulthool. Encourage children to turn off the TV and go outside to play. Once children become teenagers they can take on regular physical activities like jogging. It’s also important that senior citizens exercise in order to prevent muscle atrophy and heart disease. Senior adults should start off with 10 to 15 minutes of exercise five days a week, and slowly progress to 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise.

Combining Diet and Exercise

Many people make the mistake of dieting without exercising. This makes weight loss much more difficult. Adding exercise to your diet program helps you to lose more weight and keep the weight off over extended periods of time5. Also, dieting without exercise causes you to lose muscle as well as fat mass, but when a diet program is combined with exercise you can lose weight and keep muscle6.

Even if you’re faithful to your fitness program, one of the biggest challenges is maintaining a healthy diet when dining out and at parties. As for eating out, it’s important to learn strategies for choosing healthy options at restaurants. For one, you can research the nutritional value of most restaurant menus online, and you can also educate yourself on common unhealthy restaurant foods and healthier alternatives. You can also seek out restaurants that specialize in health food.

As for social events, make sure that you have an eating plan before you go to the party. Stick with fruits and veggies and small portion sizes for salty snacks. The main thing is to avoid standing by the food table and constantly snacking. But whether at a party or a restaurant, you don’t have to be a nutritional perfectionist. All you have to do is make small, sustainable steps toward a healthy diet.

Exercise is about the journey as much as it’s about the end goal. In other words, the way that you exercise and diet affects how much weight you lose and health you gain. Amid all the fads, merchandise, and hype, there’s really only one thing you need to know: exercise is a way of life. It’s fun, refreshing, and easy. And once you get bit by the exercise bug, you’ll never go back.


1 Carr, A. (2004). Positive Psychology: the Science of Happiness and Human Strengths.New York: Brunner-Routledge.

2 Adult Obesity. (2011, July 19). Retrieved from Center for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2011).Health,United States, 2010: With Special Feature on Death and Dying.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Washington,DC:U.S. Government Printing Office.

4 The Benefits of Physical Activity. (2011, February 16). Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html

5 Skender, M., Goodrick, K., & Del Junco, D. (1996). Comparison of 2-year weight loss trends in behavior treatments of obesity: diet, exercise and combination interventions. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 342-346.

6 Weiss, E., Racette, S., & Villareal, D. (2007). Washington University School of Medicine CALERIE Group. Lower extremity muscle size and strength and aerobic capacity decrease with caloric restriction but now with exercise-induced weight loss. Journal of Applied Physiology, 634-640.


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