Stretching is very important for flexibility, a range of motion and injury prevention. Incorporating stretching into your daily workouts is a given but including it in your daily routine is just as important to health and body functioning as regular exercise. It relaxes your muscles and increases blood flow and nutrients to your cartilage and muscles.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
Taking a walk a day is kind of like that proverbial apple: There’s a good chance it’ll keep the doctor away. From helping you lose weight and de-stress to lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases—going for regular walks is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health, says Melina B. Jampolis, MD, author of the new book The Doctor on Demand Diet. (Try one of these 3 new walking workouts that blast fat and help you lose weight.) “Walking is the No. 1 exercise I recommend to most of my patients because it is very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical benefits,” she says. Here’s what you can expect when you start walking for just 30 minutes every day, most days of the week.
1. Your mood will improve.
You know how sometimes it takes a glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark chocolate to blunt the edge of a rough day? Well, going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy with the same benefits, says Jampolis. “Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,” she says. What’s more, when you make your walks social—you stride with, say, your partner, a neighbor, or a good friend—that interaction helps you feel connected, says Jampolis, which boosts mood. Finally, walking outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight, which can help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)—making it a potential antidote for the winter blues, says Jampolis. (Burn calories and build muscle—all while boosting your mood—with our 21-Day Walk a Little, Lose a Lot Challenge!)
2. Your creative juices will start flowing.
Whether you’re feeling stuck at work or you’ve been searching for a solution to a tricky problem, research shows it’s a good idea to get moving: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Jampolis.
What’s your stress “tell?” For some, a quickened heart rate or a slight feeling of queasiness is enough to let them know they’re getting anxious or overwhelmed. But just as a slight from your boss or bad news from a family member can get your stress hormones pumping and your blood pressure rising quickly, you have the power to reset almost instantly.
When we’re stressed, hormones like cortisol flood our systems, producing the “fight or flight response” in which our heart rate goes up, we breathe more heavily (requiring more oxygen) and our blood vessels constrict. While in the pre-civilization world, the increased blood flow to our heart and muscles helped us escape from predators and dangerous situations, we find ourselves in a very different position now. Our bodies can’t tell the difference between an approaching grizzly bear and a ticked off spouse or a particularly epic traffic jam, so our stress response is triggered when there’s no imminent danger. Instead of helping us to escape, this can contribute to chronic conditions like hypertension and headaches, as well as mental health concerns like depression and anxiety disorders. What’s more, stress can make other conditions — like asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and insomnia — worse.
The good news? Just as we have a stress response, we also have a “relaxation response,” during which your breathing slows, your blood pressure decreases and you even use less oxygen, reports the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
We don’t really have a choice when it comes to getting stressed — we may as well work to undo its effects. With that in mind, here are 20 ways, backed up by good scientific evidence, to keep your stress in check:
Go For A 10 Minute Walk
While just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins (which, in turn, reduces stress hormones), consider walking in a park or other green space, which can actually put your body into a state of meditation, thanks to a phenomenon known as “involuntary attention” during which something holds our attention, but simultaneously allows for reflection.
Any yogi knows that the breath — known as pranayama or “life force” — plays an important role in nourishing the body. And medical researchers agree. Read More
Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.
Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance.
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores. Read Full Article
While not obvious, being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure (16). Losing approximately 9-10 lbs can help lower blood pressure (16)(20). In addition to diet, exercise is very important for blood pressure management.
Exercise is key to lowering blood pressure. Regular, moderate to vigorous intensity, physical activity can strengthen your muscles, including your heart. In addition, tiny blood vessels called capillaries also widen. These improvements allow your body to pump blood throughout it more efficiently and your oxygen levels rise. The American Heart Association recommends engaging in 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or any combination of the two. This can be accomplished over the course of five days either 30 minutes a day, or broken up into 10 or 15 minute intervals over the course of a day (16). Even mild to moderate exercise has been shown to reduce blood pressure by 5-10 mm Hg for systolic and diastolic (19).
Before beginning any exercise regiment, please consult your physician.