The Importance of Exercise
Why Exercise Is Good
Humans are designed to move.
We did not get to the top of the food chain by sitting down and waiting for food to come to us.
Think about the term “Hunters and Gatherers” – both of these are active roles.
Ok, so one is less dangerous than the other yet both involve their fair share of walking, running, jumping, lifting, bending and climbing.
We had to expend a lot of energy to gain energy back, which created an elegant cycle.
Fast forward to today’s modern society where most people have a much higher intake of energy in the form of fast food that is also harder on the body to process and a much lower energy expenditure.
Exercise plays an important role that nutrition alone cannot address – it makes your heart stronger.
Like with any other muscle, working out tones your heart ensuring that it can pump more blood with less effort.
When the heart is more efficient, there is less force on the arteries resulting in lowered blood pressure.
In particular, the systolic reading (the top number can go down by up to 10mm Hg.
Exercise also helps maintain a stable weight – when the body has less mass, it requires less blood circulation.
Like most natural approaches, this takes time and perseverance.
You’ll need at least 3 months of moderate exercise to see some decent results.
Of course, if you stop, you’ll notice that your blood pressure (along with your waistline) will slowly expand again.
In this course, we will be going over everything the beginning artist needs to know about sketchbooking.
We’ll cover the supplies you need, how to choose a sketchbook that’s right for you and the media you want to employ, and perhaps most important of all, why to keep a sketchbook.
There are three main reasons why people choose to keep a sketchbook.
First of all, if you are a visual person, a sketchbook can help you to take notes.
Rather than simply writing words about what you see or want to remember, you may find that a sketchbook of pictures, perhaps accompanied by words, can help you to organize thoughts, clarify ideas, and capture a concept.
If you’re an illustrator, you will find a sketchbook a crucial part of hammering out ideas for storyboards, book dummies, and characters.
The second reason to keep a sketchbook is for sentimental value.
It can be very meaningful to sketch places, people and even objects that you love as a way of strengthening your memories of a time and space.
It’s a great way to capture a moment or memory.
What Exercise Works Best
We’ve already explored how fatty acids can lead to plaques and result in high blood pressure.
Let’s now explore why exercise is so important.
Fat and carbohydrates are the main fuel sources for the body with fat containing 9 calories per gram of fat whilst carbohydrates contain roughly 4 calories per gram of fat.
Fat is by far the more efficient fuel to burn however, it will need more oxygen to burn it.
As your body becomes used to doing exercise it will adapt and become more efficient at it, allowing your muscles to consume more oxygen by way of increasing mitochondria.
The result is less fatty acids in the blood stream, a more efficient heart, reduced body mass and increased fuel burning capacity.
There’s no shortage of choice if you want to get active, so let’s see what works best:
Not quite the spandex clad classes of the 80s (thank goodness), aerobic activity is also known as cardio by those in the fitness industry as it stimulates the heart and breathing.
Aerobic activity refers to how our cells get their energy.
During exercise with adequate fuel and oxygen muscles can contract repeatedly without fatigue.
This is known as aerobic exercise.
Generally you should be able sustain aerobic activity for the duration of the session (usually 45 – 60 minutes).
Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, martial arts, skiing and of course, aerobics classes.
Aerobic activity can turn into non-aerobic activity when the level of workout intensity increases, forcing the muscles to rely on other reactions that do not need oxygen to fuel contractions.
This is seen when glycogen (fuel stores) are broken down and turned into energy.
This produces waste molecules that can impair muscle contractions and lead to performance fatigue.
Most common among these is lactic acid.
Examples of non-aerobic exercise include heavy weight lifting, sprints, interval training and isometrics.
Ideally a balance between the two is good for strength, bone density and overall fitness, however, if your goal is purely to lower your blood pressure then you should focus more on the aerobic activity.
Start slow and gentle but BE CONSISTENT.
Things like dancing, gymnastics, yoga, pilates and martial arts all aim to improve balance and co-ordination which is particularly important as you get older.
The difference is the focus: when doing a balance work out start out very slowly and aim to control your breathing and posture. Generally speaking, this is a slower paced work out and whilst great for mental and physical health, may not do much to bring down blood pressure.
Like balance workouts, the goal here is on ensuring muscle suppleness to prevent injuries and falls.
Handy Hints for Exercise
- Routine – start up a regular routine. I like to have a shower and then do my exercise first thing in the morning. It wakes me up and gives me some time to myself before I start the day
- Allow for 30 minutes every day – mix it up by going for a walk, using light hand weights, stationary bike, swimming, yoga, pilates
- Incorporate more movement into your day – If you’ve been sitting in front of a screen for 2 hours, make sure you go for a walk, do 10 squats (hold the table or chair if you need to), stretch our
- Get gardening – there’s plenty of work to be done out there (please be sun smart), weeding, cutting back overgrown hedges, watering the lawn, this all takes energy
- Technological inspirations – technology isn’t all bad. Consider getting a fitness app that tracks how many steps you walked, or check out YouTube fitness channels. There are some that specialise in 10 minute fitness solutions and are graded so you can start at an easy level and work your way up. Great for discovering some self defence moves!
- Use the stairs – ok so everyone knows this one. Stairs will get your heart rate up, but if you don’t have steady balance or your knees are giving you problems, try walking in water instead. Most local pools will have ramp access – this is perfect for giving you some resistance whilst ensuring your work out is low impact
- Local adult parks – sounds fun cause it is!!! There are lots of parks popping up around Australia that have adults in mind. Everything from balance equipment, to games that are designed to encourage mental and physical health, get out and get active.
- Low cost solutions such as a balance ball or thera-bands are excellent as they help you provide resistance to your work outs and ensure that joints don’t get abused