EXERCISE IS A BLESSING THAT PROLONGS YOUR LIFE
Spring has finally arrived. Hallelujah! The weather is warmer, the days are longer, and we are feeling happier within ourselves. So what better time to add some exercise into your life? Overwhelming scientific evidence, based on many studies, repeatedly shows us that an adequate amount of regular, physical activity can improve health and prevent disease.
It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have up to:
- 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- 50% lower risk of colon cancer
- 20% lower risk of breast cancer
- 30% lower risk of early death
- 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
- 68% lower risk of hip fracture
- 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
- 30% lower risk of depression
- 30% lower risk of dementia
Gone are the days when we thought exercise could only be performed at the gym, along with a hefty gym membership fee. Nowadays, you don’t even need to leave your front room; we are so spoilt for choice. From the Wii Fit exercises, to working out to my ‘Fit Temple’ DVD, to dancing to your favourite song… Your options are endless.
So what constitutes regular, physical activity?
From a brisk walk to water aerobics, to working out to a DVD, to riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills at a moderate intensity, meaning you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break into a sweat. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, at least five days a week, plus two days of muscle strengthening, including exercises that aim to work all the major muscle groups (arms and shoulders, chest, back, hips, abdomen, legs). “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant. As a regular exerciser myself, I strongly agree with Dr Cavill’s statement. Making exercise a part of your lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive, and the benefits are priceless. As a keen jogger, I enjoy jogging six days a week, and I can testify that exercise is a blessing from God. It impacts my entire life – my body is stronger, therefore I am better equipped to perform my daily activities both physically and spiritually. I have the strength to pray, study the Word, go about my Father’s (God’s) business, and still have enough energy left over to run after my boys; this requires A LOT of energy – believe me!
At the start of the year, I touched on the responsibility we have to look after our bodies because our bodies belong to God (“You are not your own, you were bought at a price” – 1 Corinthians 6:19). I want to add John 10:10 which says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I believe ‘life abundantly’ also includes the benefits that exercise gives us. So, once again, I invite you to join me and live life abundantly.
Deadly facts about sugar
We are a nation of ‘sugarholics’. We are addicted to sugar. We eat too much of it. The sweeter the better, and we just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of our love for the white crystal is wider waists, which puts us at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancers. Sugar occurs naturally in fruits and milk, but we don’t need to worry about these types. It’s the refined sugars added to our foods, such as sweetened breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks, that we need to be aware of, because not only are they high in calories, but they also have no nutritional value. It can be hard to cut sugar totally out of your diet, but cutting down is a start. Why not try swapping your fizzy sugary drinks for fruit juice diluted with sparkling water or just water? Just remember that, whilst everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial.
Reasons to eat more avocados
Do you run a mile at the mention of avocados because of their fat content? Well, permit me to argue my case for one of the most nutritious foods on Planet Earth.
- Avocados are packed with carotenoids. Avocados are a great source of lutein, a carotenoid which works as an antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease.
- Avocados make you feel full. Half an avocado contains 3.4g of fibre, both soluble and insoluble. The insoluble fibre slows down carbohydrates in your body, making you feel fuller for longer.
- Avocados can help reduce cholesterol levels and help promote a healthy heart. Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, found naturally in plants and in some animal sources.
- Finally, avocados taste great! Avocados are a healthy way to boost flavour and texture to your meals.
I think I’ve argued a very strong case for this super food, so all that’s left is for you to give it a try.
Lola Olarewaju is a Personal Trainer, freelance Certified Lifestyle Coach and owner of Final Measure, a fitness and lifestyle company. Visit www.final-measure.com for full details.