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You have probably read countless articles on the internet about how exercise can sculpt your body into the perfect master piece with "ripped abs", "huge guns", "awesome wheels", "cannonball delts", etc.
I love these articles packed with new workout routines that will help me on my bodybuilding journey. But what if you are not a competitive bodybuilder or sports athlete? Is exercise really going to help you? Most Americans get to a certain age and don't want to go to the gym because they don't see the point if they are not competing in some physical activity.
So how could you persuade your parent or grandparent that it is time to hit the gym? Try this: "Going to the gym could save your life". Well it is not as cut and dry as the statement might sound but consistent exercise has shown to improve ones health in many areas.
In the article below I will discuss a few diseases that many Americans suffer from and how consistent exercise can help improve there situation and actually in some cases prevent the disease all together.
According to the
American Heart Association the leading cause of death in the US is heart disease and the main cause of the disease is physical inactivity. The two main factors in these cases are coronary artery flexibility and
Coronary artery flexibility refers to the ability of the arteries that deliver blood to the heart to be able to expand in diameter when physical
stress is placed on the body. When a person is in better shape (from working out) these arteries are more flexible because of the constant expanding and contracting of the arteries during their workouts. This makes it easier on the heart to pump blood.
If a person doesn't exercise their arteries get stiff and when physical stress is placed on the body this person is more apt to experience high levels of blood pressure, because the heart has to use more force to pump blood through smaller arteries.
Most people that have took some time to read an article or 2 on the internet already know all cholesterol is not created equal. Some forms are good for the body (HDL) and others are bad (LDL). But what most of you don't know is that simply exercising can improve your levels of HDL and decrease your levels of LDL. Improving in this ratio goes a long way in fighting this deadly disease.
Many people don't realize how bad the
obesity epidemic really is. Americans have gotten accustomed to people being large and overweight. Americans eat way too much and exercise not enough. This is a bad equation, which will only results in a very FAT population. America is the fattest country in the world. Over 60% of our population is categorized as obese.
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I referred to obesity as an epidemic or problem in America, not a disease in the beginning of this section. The reason for this is obesity is not a disease, but rather it does help facilitate other diseases like, coronary artery disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sleep apnea and many more. For these reasons, anyone who is obese finds their life expectancy to be drastically lowered.
To lower one's overall weight and body fat one needs to expend more
calories than one takes in. Any easy way to do this is to clean up your diet. Getting rid of the junk food and replacing it with quality lean
carbs and healthy
fats. Working out will help your body burn some extra calories and melt away some of that harmful body fat.
Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes (Type II Diabetes):
An Individual who suffers from type II
diabetes has difficulty regulating glucose levels. At this point they are not dependent on using
insulin to regulate their glucose levels but need to watch there diet to me sure that their levels stay constant.
Exercise has been shown to help regulate these levels of glucose and make the body more efficient at using all its nutrients from the food that one takes in.
Glucose (Glc), a monosaccharide, is a very important carbohydrate in biology. The living cell uses it as a source of energy and metabolic intermediate. Glucose is one of the main products of photosynthesis and starts cellular respiration in both prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) and eukaryotes (animals, plants, fungi, and protists).
Obesity in a lot of cases causes type II diabetes, as stated above exercise helps in lowering your risk of obesity. So indirectly you can see how exercise can lower one's chances of developing this disease. If you do suffer from type II diabetes watching you diet is priority one, but adding a sound workout program will help in making your life a lot healthier.
"Ok you sold me, I know I need to get off my butt and start working out. What should I do?"
This is where many Americans make the wrong choice; they decide it is time to get back into the gym after years of inactivity and go at it like they did back in high school. Hitting the weights hard and paying for it with soreness that would leave anyone in bed for a week. Well, after a couple of days of super sore workouts they quit and are back to square one.
I am going to break it down into 2 age groups, as I believe this article is geared to the above 30 year old lifter.
If you are from the ages of 30-45, I would stick with mostly free weight exercises with occasional machine work. Workout out your whole body 3 times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Cardio should be done post-workout for 15 minutes and try to make it in on either Tuesday or Thursday for one 30-45 minute session of cardio.
Here is what a weight lifting workout can look like:
Over Age 45:
If you are above 45 years of age I would like for you to stick with machine in the beginning and build back some of that strength that you have lost from your lack of activity.
Once you have weight lifted for more then 6-8 weeks then start to add some more free weight exercises in your routine. Other than the weights you will be doing the same split as the younger guys above. Here is what a weight lifting workout would look like for the 45 plus group:
The point of these exercise programs is to get you active. Stimulate your muscle to a point where they will get stronger and you will feel better and healthier. Workouts should be enjoyable but tough. Remember life is what you make of it.
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If you put in the 1 hour workout 3 times a week and stay consistent with it you can not only get stronger and look better but it is proven that you will help your body live longer. So get off the couch and start working out. Good Luck!