Active Seniors

Exercising to “get in shape”

Let’s face it in general most people are impatient when it comes to things like exercise. While we know exercise is good for our health, many people still view it as a tool to “get in shape”. However it is this goal that is probably responsible for the high percentage of people who start an exercise program and fail to stick with it.

How long does it take?

Changes in body shape and composition take time. Research looking at the time it takes for body changes shows that if you are doing four very hard exercise sessions a week, you can expect to see changes in around three months. For the average person who doesn’t exercise quite as hard or as much this translates to more like 6 months before noticeable differences start to appear.
Of course there are also various other factors such as your diet, health history and not to mention your starting point! While this may sound like grim news, here are some interesting and hopefully motivating facts that should keep you going. In just a mere 6 weeks of exercising, your body’s ability to transfer and use oxygen improves by somewhere between 50-100%! This is a substantial change for a relatively short space of time.
In fact, the positive health benefits associated with exercise kick in immediately after a single session of exercise! For 2 days after you exercise your blood sugar levels are already lower and after just a few exercise sessions insulin function improves. Again after just a few exercise sessions, the brain learns to better coordinate the nervous system which helps you get stronger well before the muscles physically change.

How much exercise do I need to do?

The good news as well is that every little bit helps. If you are currently not exercising and you even slightly increase your activity levels you reduce the negative health effects of inactivity by 30%. Increasing this further to the recommended levels -30 mins moderate exercise 5 days a week – boosts this reduction to a whopping 50%! Going beyond the recommendations has further benefits with the risk of developing diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration reducing by up to 70%.

Take away messages

  1.  Exercise is a journey not a destination – it takes time but it is always worth it!
  2. Every little bit counts. Your body starts reaping the benefits  immediately
  3. Even in small amounts you can significantly reduce your risk of developing many chronic diseases
What are some of the positive changes you feel when you exercise?

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