Exercise & Fitness

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Regular exercise and physical activity are extremely important and beneficial for long-term health and well-being. Hundreds of studies show that, besides helping to control your weight, exercise lowers your risk for serious health problems. These include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as some forms of cancer.

What’s more, it can enhance your mood, improve your sleep and boost your sex life. Put simply, exercise and fitness helps you feel better, look great, and live a longer and more satisfied life.

This section will provide more detail about the benefits you can expect from regular exercise and fitness. It also provides you with a comprehensive list of medical conditions that can be prevented or managed with an effective and targeted fitness plan.

To motivate you to get started, there’s a section to help you create a well-rounded exercise plan that fits your life. It details the right blend of exercises to undertake and why they’re good for you. With an exercise plan in place, you can choose from a list of gyms in Dubai and a list of gyms in Abu Dhabi via our Find & Book search engine. 

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Man riding bike in mountainsRegardless of your age, sex and physical ability, regular exercise can offer a wide range of benefits. It’s a wonderful way to boost your mood, gain health benefits and have fun in the process. Generally, most people should aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day. Though remember to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness program, especially if you have any health concerns.

Mayo Clinic explains seven ways exercise can improve your life:

  • Exercise controls weight: When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories, which helps you to prevent weight gain or maintain weight loss. You don't need to set aside a lengthy workout session either, just get more active throughout the day in simple ways such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Exercise combats health conditions and diseases: Regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer and arthritis. For more details, check out the section Preventing Disease Through Exercise and Fitness.
  • Exercise improves mood: Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. According to the Association for Applied Sport Psychology , as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a positive effect on your mood and the way you feel about yourself.
  • Exercise boosts energy: Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. This gives you more energy to go about your daily activities.
  • Exercise promotes better sleep: Regular exercise can help you both fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. The trick is to be patient. Recent research shows exercising consistently can lead to improvements in sleep over time, but not immediately.
  • Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life: If you feel too tired or unfit to enjoy physical intimacy, regular physical activity can leave you feeling energised and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But despite this, regular exercise can also lead to enhanced arousal for women and decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction in men.
  • Exercise can be fun: Finally, exercise does not have to be tedious or painful – it can also be a way to have fun. Try new activities like taking a dance class, joining a soccer team or going for bushwalks. 
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Woman Doing Sit upsWhile exercise programs often vary from person to person based on fitness levels and goals, current recommendations urge all adults to include aerobic exercise, and resistance and flexibility training. This section also includes information on relaxation exercises, because while the science supporting their benefits is not as plentiful and well-established, the available evidence does suggest many health benefits. It isn't necessary to fit each of these elements into every fitness session, but factoring them into your regular routine can help you promote fitness for life.

Aerobic fitness

Aerobic exercises, also known as cardio or endurance activities, are great for burning calories and eliminating unwanted fat. Aerobic exercises include any physical activity that uses large muscle groups and increases your heart rate. Some examples are walking, jogging, biking or swimming. Engaging in aerobic exercises temporarily boosts your heart rate and breathing, allowing more oxygen to reach your muscles. These are the activities that are associated with lower risk for many diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, and lengthening life span. Aerobic exercise should be the centerpiece of your fitness program, since the bulk of research on disease-quelling benefits of exercise revolves around cardiovascular activity. Aim for at least 2 ½ hours a week of moderate aerobic activity or 1 ¼ hours a week of vigorous aerobic activity.

Resistance training

Resistance or strength training, at least twice a week, builds muscle and protects against bone loss. Technically, strength or resistance training takes place any time your muscles face a stronger-than-usual counterforce, such as pushing against a wall or lifting a dumbbell. Resistance training typically involves the use of equipment such as weight machines, free weights and resistance bands. Your own body weight counts too, such as push-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats. Using progressively heavier weights or increasing resistance makes muscles stronger.

Flexibility training

Flexibility exercises like stretching, yoga and pilates gently reverse the shortening and tightening of muscles that typically occur with disuse and age. Shorter, stiffer muscle fibers may make you vulnerable to injuries and contribute to back pain and balance problems. A well-stretched muscle more easily achieves its full range of motion and promotes better posture. Regular flexibility training can even help relieve stress. Before you stretch, warm up by doing a low intensity exercise for 5 to 10 minutes. Better yet, stretch after you exercise, when your muscles are warm and receptive to stretching. To achieve lasting effects, stretch daily or at least several times a week.

Relaxation exercises

Relaxation exercises like meditation are not a component of every exercise or fitness program. They do, however, reduce stress and often improve a person’s quality of life and health. Consider incorporating some disciplines, such as yoga, tai chi and pilates, into your fitness program. These disciplines simultaneously improve strength, flexibility and balance while easing stress and relieving pain.

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Woman running on RoadRegular exercise and physical activity are extremely important for long term health and well-being. Research shows that regular physical activity can help reduce your risk for several diseases and health conditions and improve your overall quality of life. These include:

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke: Regular exercise can help prevent cardiovascular disease by strengthening your heart muscle, preventing plaque build up, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol) and by improving blood flow.
  • Lowering blood pressure: Physical activity reduces body fat, which is associated with high blood pressure. Long-term hypertension (high blood pressure) doubles or triples the odds of developing heart failure and leads to other kinds of heart disease.
  • Helping to prevent diabetes: Exercise can shed excess weight, stabilise blood sugar levels, and boost sensitivity to insulin so that less is needed to transport glucose into cells.
  • Reducing the risk of developing colon and breast cancers: Research shows that people who are physically active have a lower risk of developing colon and breast cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , some findings also suggest regular physical activity can lower your risk of endometrial cancer and lung cancer as well.
  • Improving psychological well-being: Regular exercise can improve your mood by releasing mood-lifting hormones and relieving stress. It can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety, and may help you sleep better.
  • Building and maintaining healthy muscles, bones, and joints: Regular exercise may ward off age-related bone loss such as osteoperosis, can limit or even reverse knee problems and helps protect joints by easing swelling.
  • Preventing obesity: Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body's ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.
  • Helping to prevent back pain: By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.
  • Reducing the risk of premature death: Last but not least, Harvard Health claims that doing regular exercise can add years to your life. This is because exercise reduces the risk of death from leading causes, like heart disease and cancer. 
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