I am very happy to enjoy exercise. I know for many it is a labor void of love. And, if you don’t love exercise, I wonder if it may be because you think it has to be painfully strenuous to be effective. Well, I have good news for you! Gentle fitness goes a long way towards improving your health. In fact, the older we get, the greater the benefits exceed high intensity workouts.
I turned 50 this year and I have definitely decreased the intensity of my workouts. Running is gone, plyometrics are history, weights are lighter, and my pace is slower. But, I feel great and to be honest, I am happier and less stressed with the gentler approach!
Gentle exercise can…
- Improve bowel function, relieving constipation
- Lower stress
- Reduce inflammation
- Lower blood pressure
- Promote weight loss
- Improve balance, flexibility and strength
- Improve mood
- Improve sleep
There are also many convenient, inexpensive ways to exercise with ease…
- Walking in neighborhoods, parks, malls, parking lots (at work), the YMCA
- Yoga (studios or You Tube)
- Pilates (studios or You Tube)
- Fitness Blender Low Impact Workouts (You Tube)
- Tai Chi (Various Martial Arts Studios)
- Silver Sneakers (YMCA)
- Aqua Aerobics (GAC)
I enjoy going on a nice 30 minute walk and then doing a 15-20 minute yoga routine on You Tube to stretch out. It takes less than an hour and it’s free! Another advantage of gentle exercise is that it doesn’t burn up loads of muscle glycogen leaving you carb-craving for the next 24-hours. In fact, for that reason, gentle exercise can be more effective for weight loss than vigorous calorie burns.
To optimize health and reduce inflammation, your heart rate should be 70% of your max for 30-75 minutes. That is 220-age X .70 = bpm. It is also recommended by the healthy powers that be that we move for 5 hours per week. So there is no doubt that we need to move…but remember you can move smarter, not harder and enjoy living longer!