EXERCISE – DO I REALLY NEED TO BOTHER WITH IT?
Allison Worley, Personal Trainer
When we think about exercise, many of us think about weight loss – If only I could lose that 10lbs! But there is so much more to be gained when we get moving.
Reduce joint swelling and pain.
When your joints are painful and swollen, it’s easy to think that exercise is the last thing you want to do, but to repeat the Arthritis Foundation’s tag line from a few years ago “What’s the best thing to take for arthritis? A walk!” Exercise releases synovial fluid into your joints, and just like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, oiling your joints helps you move easier. The more you move, the more lubricating oil gets released.
Physical activity, whether it’s walking, going to the gym, gardening, playing pickleball or golfing, helps to keep us limber and strong. Both are necessary components for maintaining balance. Tai Chi is one form of exercise which is proven to reduce the risk of falls. In Sun City, we are fortunate to have easy access to many forms of physical activity, including Tai Chi.
Improve memory and cognitive function.
We all fear “losing our marbles.” The thinking was that we are born with a set amount of brain cells and that it was downhill all the way. However, the field of neuroplasticity has proven that you can increase the number of brain cells if you move while thinking and keep trying new things. Try doing mental math as you work out or listen to an audible book while you walk.
Reduce depression and anxiety. Improve well-being.
The hippocampus helps to regulate our moods and neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus region of the brain is smaller in people who are depressed. Exercise supports nerve growth and enlargement of the hippocampus. The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon to improve your mood! The best approach is low-intensity exercise sustained over time.
These are only four benefits of exercise and there are so many more. It has been said that if the benefits of exercise could be put into a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine ever. We can’t take a pill though; we simply need to move!
Consult with a Sun City personal trainer for ideas about how to get moving or try one of the 130 exercises classes offered in our fitness centers each week.