The benefits of regular exercise are just too compelling to ignore. Consistent exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, keep your bones strong, improve your mood, increase energy and make you less susceptible to disease and the effects of aging. In addition, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that only regular, vigorous exercise protects your body from coronary artery disease and early mortality. Yet, way too many of us do not exercise, much less exercise regularly. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, “less than 5 percent of adults participate in the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day and more than 80 percent of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.”
The good news is that no matter your age or physical condition, anyone can start and maintain a regular exercise program. And interestingly, more and more people are turning to fitness apps like Fitness Buddy by Azumio to help them develop, implement and maintain a consistent exercise program.
Consistency is key because you will not realize the same results from hit and miss working out. Consistency is key to realizing the many benefits of exercise. Once a week will not help you meet your goals. One of the main benefits of consistent exercise is maintaining a healthy weight. Put simply, energy out must equal be equal to or greater than energy in. That energy balance is vital. “It’s balance over time that helps you maintain a healthy weight,” according to the National Institutes of Health.
Consistency in exercise is the key to real results and real health benefits. And the more consistently you exercise, the faster you will see tangible results. A 2014 study published in the American College of Sports Medicine journal, “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” demonstrated that higher fitness levels result in better health. “Although mechanisms are not completely known, it is clear that regular physical exercise and greater cardio-respiratory fitness are related to better health at the molecular, cellular, and system levels.”
In other words the more you exercise, the more powerful the effect on the body. in fact, regular exercise over the course of your life can lengthen your life. “Maintaining aerobic capacity throughout the lifespan,” means you are likely to live longer and suffer less disease than your more sedentary counterparts, the study contends.
Rob Ritchie, 42, a Purcellville, Va., based entrepreneur and executive, found his motivation when a close family member suffered a heart attack. “When I was 33, I had a life changing moment when I had to take my father to the emergency room by ambulance for a heart attack at 64. He had blockages in two coronary arteries and subsequently had two stents placed as a result,” Ritchie said, noting that his father had always been active so he never thought he was at risk for a heart attack. Ritchie has been a paramedic since 1991, and in addition, has served in many official capacities with his local rescue department.
His father’s heart attack led Ritchie to take a look at his own health. “I did view myself as out of shape, and if it could happen to him in his condition, I knew all too well running as a paramedic, mine would come sooner than his.” Ritchie was motivated to protect his own health. “I did some research and learned what worked for the majority of people: cut the calories, increase the activity and keep it up.”
Today, Ritchie maintains his lean fit frame with regular exercise. He consistently works a program of 15-20 minutes of cardio (biking or running), five minutes of stretching and an additional 15-20 minutes of strength training.
Ritchie’s motivation to be consistent in his approach to fitness is the key to getting, maintaining and retaining a fit body. In the first year of beginning his exercise program, Ritchie lost 40 pounds. “For the first time in my life, I could see muscle definition in my arms, chest, etc.,” he said. Ritchie remains consistently inconsistent in his exercise regimen. “I try to exercise at least three or four days a week,” he says. “Don’t get into a rut and don’t do the same thing every time you work out.”
While many things contribute to weight gain: familial history and genetics, metabolism and individual eating habits, consistent exercise can and will help you lose weight and get your body in great physical condition.
To get the recommended 30 minutes of vigorous exercise six days a week, one only has to find three 10-minute chunks of time each day in which to raise your heart rate enough for it to be considered vigorous exercise. According to the National Institute on Aging, “almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. You can still exercise even if you have a health condition like heart disease or diabetes.” In fact, NIA says, exercise can help you manage these conditions.
The point is that we all know that exercise is good for us, but many do not know just how beneficial it can be both for a strong body and great health. And consistency is a large part of making exercise result in all of these wonderful things for us: an attractive, physically fit body, better health, better mood, more energy, a better sex life, and more restful sleep, according to researchers at The Mayo Clinic. But none of these benefits will come our way if we do not find the motivation and will to exercise consistently.
For help in developing a consistent, personalized, age and health appropriate exercise plan, enlist the help of new technology like the Azumio Fitness buddy.
Ramona Fortanbary is a Northern Virginia-based freelance writer and editor. Ramona has served as a writer in many industries. She has been a newspaper editor, corporate communications manager and public affairs specialist and senior writer-editor for the U.S. government. Ramona has studied at Chapman and Harvard universities. Her interests include fitness, reading, traveling and volunteer work. Ramona currently serves on the board of Heart Marks Art Therapy, a 501(c)(3) organization offering free art therapy sessions to at risk segments of our society.
Main Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit & Fourth Photo Credit: deathtothestockphoto.com; Third Photo Credit: Dudarev Mikhail/shutterstock.com