In case you missed it — exercise is a lifesaver! Both literally and figuratively. There are so many benefits of exercise, many of which extend so much further than how you look.
Yes, exercise is important for your physical health, which in turn, boosts your mental and emotional wellbeing. Holistically, this is one of the best ways to keep yourself in good health throughout your life.
But if you’re new to exercise or yet to understand its many benefits, this blog highlights a few workout questions and answers to help get you acquainted. Read on for more…
8 Commonly Asked Workout Questions and Their Answers
Historically, exercise has been recommended as a treatment for many ailments and conditions. Even the father of scientific medicine, Hippocrates, recognized the benefits of physical activity when he stated that ”sport is the preserver of health”.
It’s important to classify what is considered exercise and a healthy form of movement at that. Here are a few common questions and answers to help you form a long-lasting relationship with physical activity.
1. What’s the Difference Between Exercise and Physical Activity?
Physical activity is classified as any type of bodily movement where the muscles exert energy.
This movement may be intentional or unintentional. For example, your job requires plenty of physical activity or movement — this is intentional. Or, you are simply transporting yourself from one place to another — this is unintentional. All forms of physical activity count as beneficial to your health.
Exercise is also a form of physical activity, but it’s intentional and planned. It is usually structured, has a purpose, and aims to improve your physical and mental health.
2. Why Is Exercise Important for Your Health?
Every single part of your body benefits from exercise. But most notably, the brain, heart, and joints. Exercise has particularly positive effects on the cardiovascular system, reducing the development of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
When you exercise, molecules are released from the arteries to protect our essential organs. The brain releases dopamine, helping you to feel energized, positive, and focused.
Exercise not only helps us to feel better in our bodies but improves sleep, cognition, and the function of the metabolism. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Your bones benefit from exercise by becoming stronger and denser, preventing the onset of arthritis and osteoporosis. While the joints remain supple and functional as you age. Overall, exercise is one of the best ways to keep all aspects of your health in check.
3. How Much Should I Be Exercising?
This is largely dependent on personal factors. For example, if you have a very physical job, you may not need to exercise as much as a person with a desk job. It’s also dependent on your own personal fitness goals.
However, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults are encouraged to exercise for 30-minutes, at least five days a week.
This exercise does not always have to be strenuous, but it should count as some form of physical activity. Whether it’s a daily walk, a HIIT session, weight training, cycling, or swimming. It’s important to find an exercise regime that is sustainable — one that fits in with your everyday life and commitments. This way, it’s easier to stick to it without making excuses or falling off the wagon.
4. Is One Form of Exercise Better Than Another?
The short answer to this question is no. This is because exercise, in all its forms, counts as physical activity, and this is always going to be beneficial to your health. Each form of exercise is also beneficial in its own way. It really depends on your personal fitness and health goals.
It’s important to find a form of exercise that you love. This way you won’t view exercise as a chore that you ”have to do”. Rather, you’ll feel motivated to work out because it makes you feel good. As a general rule-of-thumb, it’s a good idea to mix up the forms of exercise you do, such as a mix of cardio workouts with strength training.
5. Should You Exercise Every Day?
It is generally recommended that you spread your physical activity throughout the week, where possible. But if you can’t find the time you need to exercise during the week, having active weekends is still beneficial.
The average recommendation is to move your body five times per week. Back-to-back, vigorous workouts are not always a good idea as it can lead to burnout. How often you work out and the intensity of your workouts makes all the difference.
Remember that your rest days are equally important as your exercise days. This gives your body much-needed time to rest and your muscles the chance to recover. Overworking certain muscle groups can actually lead to injury, which will only hamper your progress.
6. Does Exercise Still Count If I’m Not Sweating?
Remember this: exercise does not have to be extremely rigorous and sweaty in order to count! There are plenty of heart-healthy benefits of moderate-intensity exercise. This includes walking, swimming, indoor cycling, and light weight training.
If you’re confused by the intensity of exercise, this should help:
- Light activity includes stretching, basic housework, gardening, and walking
- Moderate activity includes cycling, swimming, brisk walking, yard work, and light weight-training
- Vigorous activity includes running, HIIT workouts, competitive sports, spinning, hard labor
Yes, light activity is still beneficial to your health. So if you can’t make it to the gym but choose to do housework, gardening, or a basic yoga session instead, your body is still benefiting in some way.
7. How Do I Know if I’m Over-Exercising?
Yes, there is such a thing as too much exercise. But as previously stated, this is only in relation to the type of exercise you’re doing, specifically vigorous exercise. Some of the most obvious signs of exercise fatigue include:
- A persistent feeling of tiredness
- Lack of energy throughout the day
- Being unable to recover as quickly as you used to
- Irritability and mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Persistent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that take longer than 2-days to fade
- Overuse injuries
A lack of exercise is a far more common issue among the U.S. population. But it’s important to be aware of the signs of exercise fatigue and listen to your body.
8. What if I Don’t Have Time or Energy to Exercise?
The truth is, you have to make time for exercise. No matter how busy your life is, it’s crucial that you set aside at least 20-30 minutes to yourself for some form of physical activity.
If you want to make your health a priority, you have to make the time to fit in exercise. As for energy, it’s important that your body is well rested and fueled before any type of workout.
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