It’s important that we move more and eat healthier…we all know that. Nutrition will help us tone up and lose the gut, but exercise is extremely important too. We often don’t realize that the type of exercise we choose will have a direct affect on the benefits we achieve. And if you really want to achieve a tone, healthy body, walking isn’t enough.
Walking is wonderful at the beginning. We can get the heart rate up, push ourselves cardiovascularly, and work up a great sweat (especially in our Texas summer heat). By doing this we pump more blood to our muscles, our legs get a workout, and we help control the cortisol levels in our body. The amazing thing about our body is that we adapt very well to physical activity. What can be hard for us for a period of time, becomes easy as we do it more and more. The problem is most people never change their exercise program. They continue to walk at the same pace and the same distance and their body works less every time they repeat the activity. The result is our bodies conditioning regresses slightly over time, instead of progressing like it should. But adding more distance and time to the activity isn’t always the best way either. After achieving 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity, the focus should begin to shift (for basic health and weight loss). There comes a time when intensity has to be altered if we want to continue to improve our health.
As we exercise more and more we should alter the intensity of our physical activity. If we remember the first time we walk the long distance, there was a certain amount of exertion our body was put through. If we matched or exceeded that amount of exertion every time we exercised, we would continue to progress. That could be achieved by altering our speed, resistance, incline, or activity. This will help us continue to improve the strength of our heart, and allow us to do more things in everyday life. (I’m a firm believer that working out should not be the destination, but the training necessary to enjoy life to its fullest.) We should also begin including other healthy activities. Stretching is important for flexibility, circulation, and preventing muscle stiffness. Weight training is necessary for increasing bone density, muscle toning, strength, posture, and stability/balance.
By eating healthy, continuously altering your physical activity, and increasing the intensity at which you exercise, not only will you prevent yourself from “getting stuck” in your results, you will continue to see yourself progress week after week.