Benefits of Aerobic & Resistance Exercise

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Written by: Lindsay Cartwright, BScKIN

People often exercise for the benefits associated with weight loss, but it is important for many more reasons. Canadian guidelines say that we should exercise at a light intensity for 60 minutes each day, or at a moderate to vigorous intensity for 30 to 60 minutes each day. By including physical activity into your lifestyle, you will improve your body, mind and overall health in countless ways.
It is well known that moderate amounts of exercise improves both physical and mental health. Regular physical activity increases quality of sleep, increases energy levels, and can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Resistance Exercise:
Resistance exercises are not just for people trying to build muscle, they should be incorporated into everyone’s routine. Even exercises that use light weights or just body weight can have significant health benefits to adults of all ages. Resistance exercise not only builds and maintains muscle mass and uses fat stores, but it increases bone density as well. It is extremely important for adults to maintain bone density to keep their bones strong as they age. Bone & muscle strength throughout adulthood will help with balance and reduce the risk of falls and fall-related injuries.

Examples of resistance exercises:
• Push ups
• Bicep burls with dumbbells
• Lifting a bag of groceries
Aerobic Exercise:
Aerobic exercise is great for cardiovascular health. This is the exercise that gets your heart rate up and is considered to be more endurance exercise. It keeps your heart working optimally, blood pressure at acceptable levels and can help lower the risk for heart failure and strokes. Even one bout of aerobic exercise can lower your cholesterol levels! Just think of what multiple bouts a week can do for you.
Examples of aerobic exercises:
• Going for a brisk walk
• Jogging
• Going on a bike ride
• Hiking
• Swimming
To get all of the benefits that have been mentioned, it is key to incorporate both resistance and aerobic exercise in your daily physical activity. There are unlimited combinations on how you can do that to best fit your life style. Here are a few examples: Do resistance exercises for 15 minutes in the morning, and aerobic exercise for 15 minutes in the evening; do resistance exercise Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 30 minutes, and aerobic exercise Tuesday, Thursday, and once on weekends for 30 minutes. Remember to start slowly if you are new to exercise and work up to the recommendations in order to avoid injury.
If you find it difficult to take time out of your busy schedule, here are a few tips for incorporating exercise into your day-to-day routine:
1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
2. Park at the back of the parking lot to add a few minutes of walking.
3. Go for a quick walk when you get a break at work.
4. Do some jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, and/or pushups on commercial breaks.
5. Don’t sit still for more than 30 minutes. Stand up and stretch!

Remember, you don’t have to be a body builder or a marathon runner to see the benefits of exercise. Anything is better than nothing, and more is better than less (within reason). Try not to think of exercise as a chore! Make it a reward: time for you to clear your head and rejuvenate. You deserve it!
Still not convinced? Check out this video:

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