I’ve been reminding my patients to stay active and move with purpose all season long to achieve better health. There are many fun and effective activities, even winter-friendly, that will do the trick, but one of the best ways to stay active year-round is by incorporating aerobic exercise into your daily routine. A daily dose of cardio might be the closest thing you’ve got to a miracle drug for simultaneously strengthening your body, boosting your brain and improving your gut health. Here’s what you need to know about aerobic exercise and how to reap the benefits.
Cardio makes the magic happen.
Aerobic exercise is movement sustained for more than a few minutes that gets your blood and sweat glands pumping and your heart, lungs and muscles working faster and harder. When people think about exercise, they tend to only think about the physical benefits. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a beach-ready body, but why stop there? Incorporating this form of exercise into your daily routine will give you so much more than that! It’s an all-natural way to improve yourself from the inside out. You’ll become toner, leaner and stronger over time, but some of the most impressive benefits happen beneath the surface.
The more consistently you get your body moving, the more likely you’ll be to enjoy more energy, boosted mood and immunity, improved memory and thinking skills, less inflammation, better brain and gut health and increased protection against age-related cognitive decline.
Sounds pretty miraculous, doesn’t it?
How cardio affects gut health.
Regular exercise actually changes your gut microbes, which are widely believed to play an important role in whole-body health. A recent study found that several weeks of exercise resulted in an increase in participants’ concentrations of butyrate, a type of fatty acid that keeps our guts happy by reducing inflammation and producing energy. Another study found that regular exercise resulted in more diverse gut microbiota, which means better health. With a reduction of microbiota comes an increased risk of disorder-causing inflammation.
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How does aerobic exercise affect the brain?
Here’s where things really get impressive.
When you incorporate aerobics into your routine, your body eventually gains the ability to better protect your brain health. Regular exercise releases growth factors – chemicals in your brain that improve brain cell health, stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the brain and increase the abundance and survival rate of new brain cells.
How does this improve your life?
It boosts your mood, improves your sleep, reduces stress and anxiety, lowers the likelihood of depression, sharpens your memory and reduces your risk of cognitive impairment.
Some of the most amazing changes occur for seniors, who experience a reduction in the instances of Alzheimer’s and other physiological diseases.
Get moving every day for better health and longevity.
It’s time to take charge of your health and make purposeful movement a lifelong habit. Here’s what I recommend:
- Get moving (even a brisk walk is effective!) for 150 minutes each week. That’s 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week. If you can’t manage 30 minutes at once, you can break it down into shorter sessions. Just make sure you do at least 10-15 minutes at a time to get those benefits!
- Make it fun! Exercise doesn’t have to be something you dread. Try new things, find what’s fun, be adventurous, make it something you’re excited to do!
- Keep it simple. Simple forms of cardio work best. You don’t need fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership. A walk, a bike ride or a hike out in the fresh air are incredibly effective.
- Start now. Your age and current fitness level should never discourage you. Start small, and work your way up if you have to. Just get started. Younger or older, you’ll still reap the benefits and make a big impact!
- Think long-term. Habits stick when they’re realistic and sustainable. Find your rhythm and let go of the pressure to see fast results. Focus on long-term benefits and creating a healthier lifestyle that will keep on giving.
Are you ready to get moving? Make the commitment to incorporate 30 minutes of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, and you’ll become stronger, happier and healthier from the inside out. You’ll be on your way to better whole-body health and a longer, more joyful life.
If you have questions about implementing cardio into your life, please send me an email to share your thoughts.
Make healthy living a part of every day.
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
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- Move with purpose every day. A brisk 15-30 minute walk daily is highly effective and proven to improve whole-body health.
- Make exercise fun. Our healthy choices only become lifelong habits when we enjoy them. Get moving in ways that are fun – hiking, skiing, biking, gardening, walking, jump roping – whatever brings you joy!
- Start small. Cardio doesn’t have to be complicated. Start small and build from there. Remember that it only takes 30 minutes a day! Cheer yourself on, focus on the amazing long-term benefits and enjoy a healthier life!