Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Physical Activity and Your Health

How much do you exercise?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it is recommended that the average adult gets at least two hours and thirty minutes of moderate exercise each week. Moderate exercise includes brisk walking, swimming, jogging, etc. It is also recommended that adults partake in strength training exercises are least twice a week. As a general goal, individuals should include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in their daily routine. If people are trying to lose weight, they may need to increase their activity levels above the normal recommendations. If time is an issue, try to divide the minimum 30 minutes per day into 10 minute intervals throughout the day.

Many people don’t know how many Calories it takes to make up one pound. The answer is 3,500 Calories. Losing one pound a week is an attainable goal for most people. A simple way to accomplish this is to cut 250 Calories each day from your usual dietary intake of food and also burn another 250 Calories each day through exercise, adding up to 500 Calories per day. Consequently, one pound will be lost in seven days!

What do you do to exercise and where?

People sometimes think that exercise has to be when you put on your running shorts and tennis shoes and hit the treadmill at the local gym. While this is definitely an option, there are many other ways to get involved in physical activity throughout the day. First of all, get outside! The weather is already getting nicer, so you have no excuse! Going along with this, you should walk to all of your classes. Plan ahead so you don’t have to take the bus. Grab some friends and a Frisbee and hit the Main Quad! Instead of watching TV for 30 minutes, go play Frisbee or toss around a football or baseball with your friends.

Also, try utilizing campus resources and venues. We have an Ice Arena located on Armory Dr. that has open skate times. Best of all, it is free to students with a valid I-Card; you just have to pay $1 for skate rentals.

Illinois’ campus also offers two state of the art gyms: CRCE (Campus Recreation Center East) and the ARC (Activities and Recreation Center). Both gyms have every exercise machine you could want, free weights, an indoor track, basketball courts and a pool. Personally, I am a big fan of the cardio equipment at the ARC. Each machine has its own TV and a hook-up for your IPod. Do you watch The Office every Thursday night? Then watch it while you walk and run during the commercials!

It’s easy to find ways to exercise and keep it interesting. All you have to do is utilize the resources you have available to you and maybe bring a friend along.

What are some barriers you face that keep you from exercising?

Time is one of the most common barriers to getting physical activity. This is understandable because we all have school, work, homework, sleeping, eating, hanging out with friends, and other activities that we need to fit into 24 hours each day. However, we shouldn’t think that we don’t have enough time to get our exercise in for the day. We just need to replace unproductive time with trips to the gym or by combining activities. Instead of watching TV or playing video games, spend 30 minutes at the gym. Or possibly combine events by studying with your flashcards while you’re on the stationary bike or convincing your friends to play basketball with you. One technique that can be helpful is to schedule work-out times in your planner. If you treat exercising like a class or meeting, you’ll be less likely to skip the gym.

Finding the motivation to exercise is difficult. Why would you want to go run for 30 minutes when you could sleep or watch another episode of Glee? Well, one look at the leading causes of disease in the United States and you’ll have your answer. America is becoming more sedentary with each generation and it is causing some serious health problems. Most of these health issues can be prevented with an active lifestyle. Need more motivation? One word, my friends: endorphins. Endorphins are released in your brain when you exercise. It can lead to the “runner’s high” effect and in simple terms, they make you feel great! Exercising makes you look good, feel good and stay healthy! Don’t let anything stand in your way from achieving your health goals!

More about physical activity and your health!

Physical exercise has been shown to benefit the body in many ways. Physical exercise contributes positively to maintaining a healthy weight, building and maintaining healthy bone density, muscle strength, reducing surgical risks, and strengthening the immune system. Exercise reduces the levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that builds fat in the abdominal region. Cortisol has been linked to many physical and mental problems. By reducing the release of cortisol through regular exercise, you can reduce gaining weight around your waist, the most dangerous area to gain weight due to the fact that important organs are in the same vicinity. Stay healthy, be active!