What are you weighting for?
I’m too busy. I don’t feel like it. I hate sweating. My socks don’t match. There are thousands of reasons not to exercise. It’s simple to make excuses and many people do. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, less than half (48%) of all adults meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines. Adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week, and weight training activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, core, chest, shoulders, and arms).
I cannot overstress the importance of incorporating weight training and cardiovascular exercise into one’s lifestyle. One of the biggest benefits of strength training is that it could save you a substantial amount of money and time in the future. Strong muscles, tendons and ligaments are less likely to give way under stress and become injured. Increased bone density and strength reduce back and knee pain by building muscle around these areas, which can prevent surgeries and rehabilitation. Along with gaining strength, flexibility, endurance, range of motion, and maintaining better posture, strength training also:
• Increases HDL – High Density Lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and decreases LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein (bad cholesterol)
• Reduces risk of diabetes
• Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
• Lowers blood pressure
• Lowers risk of breast cancer – reduces high estrogen levels linked to the disease
• Decreases or minimizes risk of osteoporosis by building bone mass
• Reduces stress and anxiety
• Boosts immune systems
The best advice I tell clients (and myself) is to do something you enjoy. There are numerous ways to include cardio into your fitness regime through activities such as team sports, group fitness, dancing, hiking, cycling, or walking. Although weight training is not everyone’s cup of tea, there is a great alternative that can be equally as beneficial and in many cases, more practical. Calisthenics emphasize functional strength using one’s own body weight. Some examples of calisthenic exercises include pushups, pull-ups, planks, squats, and dips. They can be done through many variations at home, outside, or in a gym.
Yes, an exercise plan can be difficult to keep up, but instead of focusing on how daunting or overwhelmed you may feel, pivot your mindset. Think about how you are becoming the best version of yourself, that you are doing something positive for your body, your temple, your ONLY place you have to live! There are no secrets; consistency and a nutritious diet will enhance your results more quickly, so why not make the most of it? It’s not too late. You can do it.
Cat Senet lives in Kenwood and is Director of Fitness at the Powerhouse Gym and Studio in Santa Rosa