You hear over and over again that working out is essential to a healthy lifestyle, but what does that mean? Do you need to spend every day in the gym to start living a healthy lifestyle? What type of workout should you choose? How are healthy eating and exercise connected? To get answers to these questions and learn how different activity levels impact your health, read on.
WHAT IS A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE?
A sedentary lifestyle means getting little to no physical activity. In other words, a sedentary person is a couch potato who spends most of their time sitting, often in front of screens. Many jobs in the United States are sedentary, so most people need to make time for healthy exercise to be active.
EFFECTS OF SEDENTARY BEHAVIOR
An inactive lifestyle can:
- Lead to weight gain
- Cause muscle and bone weakness
- Interfere with digestion
- Impair the immune system
- Reduce circulation
- Increase inflammation
- Contribute to hormone imbalances
WHAT IS A GYM RAT?
Gym rat is often used as a derogatory term, as it can describe a person who is hyper-focused on exercise, often to the point of being obnoxious about it. A more positive gym rat meaning is simply a person who works out regularly or at least more days than not at a gym. For these people, exercise is a top priority.
BENEFITS OF WORKING OUT REGULARLY
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise like brisk walking per week. In addition, adults need to do some resistance training or strengthening activity at least two days every week. Alternatively, you can do 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise like jogging plus two days of strength training.
People who heed this advice can reap the following benefits:
- Improved mood and less risk of depression and anxiety
- Better weight management
- Lower risk of heart disease and diabetes
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Less risk of fall accidents due to improved balance
- Better sleep
- Potentially increased life span
- Reduction in symptoms of certain chronic conditions
WHAT IS A WEEKEND WARRIOR?
For a weekend warrior, working out takes place only on the weekend. Instead of putting in a little bit of time at the gym daily, these individuals devote more hours to exercising on the two days they exercise. Because of their condensed schedule, they may not get the CDC's recommended amount of physical activity each week.
DO WEEKEND-ONLY WORKOUTS HAVE ANY EFFECT?
The same study mentioned above revealed that weekend warriors do get health benefits from exercise. Researchers speculate that the statistics for weekend warriors may be so close to regular exercisers because people who work out only on the weekends may choose more intense activities.
HOW TO START WORKING OUT
To start increasing your physical activity, follow these tips:
- Choose activities that you enjoy and are likely to continue doing.
- Start slow and increase the amount of exercise you do over time.
- Establish realistic goals to work toward and set new ones when you achieve them.
- Keep a log of your exercise to help you stay motivated.
HEALTHY DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT YOUR ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
You need more than just exercise if you want to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet enhances all of the health benefits of exercise while also providing fuel to help the body power through workouts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Healthy fats should be used in moderation as well.
Some people also take exercise supplements to help improve their workout performance. Many types are available, and each product has its own potential set of benefits. As a result, you'll need to read the product information to determine how a product may assist with your exercise routine. Brands such as Body Kitchen formulate their products specifically for highly-driven or highly-dedicated people. They use all natural ingredients with clinical-studies. You want to choose products with such personality, chances are you’ll experience results a lot faster than taking generic supplement brands.
In general, supplements might:
- Help the body recover from exercise
- Boost endurance during workouts
- Improve focus to help you maintain form and stay focused
- Increase circulation through the body and to the brain
- Help combat the effects of oxidative stress
You should always consult a medical provider before taking any new dietary supplement to ensure the best results.