It’s June, summer is just around the corner, and this is a great time of year to amp up my exercise routine with activities such as sneezing my brains out, straining to see through watery, puffy eyes, and doing reps with a mug of tea to sooth my throat when my voice starts to give people the impression that I’ve been doing steroids. (I don’t do steroids. You shouldn’t do steroids. There are better ways to help your muscles, which we will talk about here shortly.) Perhaps you are a marathon runner. Perhaps you couldn’t bench-press a Chihuahua. Fit or not and allergies aside, I will help you understand the benefits of cardiovascular exercise and how to get started.
Fitness is defined as the characteristics that allow your body to perform an activity with enough energy reserve to meet a physical challenge. In other words, if you feel as if you are on your last breath while attempting a grueling climb up a mountainside when in actuality you are walking up the stairs to go take a nap, you are probably not very fit. What’s so awesome about exercise? The benefits include decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease, better balance and flexibility, boosted immunity, and decreased chance of anxiety and depression. Cardiovascular training can help you gain endurance even stronger muscles and bones. You could gain the ability to outrun everyone else in the event of a zombie apocalypse. So if you want a good shot at surviving a zombie apocalypse, or if you just want the health benefits of being in shape, you should try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day.
The health benefits can begin with activities of daily living, such as walking the dog, gardening, deep cleaning the house, taking the stairs at work instead of an elevator. If you have children, play with your kids, until you realize all the exercise in the world can’t help you come close to the near infinite reserve of energy your child has and you begin to resent the fact that you can’t be five years old forever. So find some ways in your everyday routine to get moving.
Find an activity you enjoy, even if you just begin with light exercise such as walking. Whatever activity you prefer, your heart and lungs are being strengthened, your body creates more blood vessels to meet the increased demand for oxygen. Mitochondria, your cell’s powerhouse, are multiplied so your body will produce more energy. You will also have a lower respiratory exchange ratio, which is the amount of carbon dioxide produced divided by oxygen consumed. All this means you have more energy, use oxygen more efficiently, and rather than huff and puff halfway down the block before you feel like dying, you could run ten miles before you finally feel like dying.
So if you love your ten mile runs keep it up, or if you are more sedentary begin with as much as you feel comfortable with. Exercise is not all or nothing. So get started. Go take your Chihuahua for a walk. Go enjoy the fresh air. Achoo!! Sneeeerrk On second thought, maybe just a game of bowling…