As a professional fitness trainer, I witness the benefits of exercise on a daily basis. I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded and inspired by clients’ determination. Over the years, I’ve witnessed clients regain physical capabilities they once thought were lost forever, rediscover confidence lost from surgeries, chemotherapy, and mental anguish, decrease dependence on medications, boost overall physical health, recover from cardiovascular problems, fit into old clothes, and gain a whole new outlook on life. While clients who have great obstacles to overcome are extremely inspirational, everyone can benefit from exercise.
It’s important to remember exercise does a lot more than help you lose weight. There are many other positive health benefits you can gain from regular physical activity. The human body is amazing in how it can adapt itself to meet physical demands. When you adopt a lifestyle which includes regular physical activity, you challenge your body in a positive way. As you perform new exercises, you cause your body to make physical changes which make you stronger and healthier – the benefits of exercise.
Two important types of exercise training are cardiovascular training and resistance training. Each affects your body in different ways. Both are equally important and should be part of any exercise routine.
Regular cardiovascular exercise leads to weight loss, improved oxygen uptake and delivery to muscles, increased heart strength, decreased resting heart rate, decreased blood pressure, reduced total cholesterol, increased good cholesterol, reduction in blood triglycerides, reduced effects of adult onset diabetes, and most importantly, decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. Research has shown that these changes can be seen with as little as two days of exercise per week.
Changes associated with resistance training are increased muscular strength, increased muscle endurance, increased bone mineral density (decreased chance of developing osteoporosis), increased metabolic rate, decreased incidence of injury, joint support, and increased balance and coordination.
You may notice all the positive changes listed above are the exact opposite of changes associated with aging. It’s my belief that exercise is the fountain of youth. Exercising may not guarantee a longer life, but it certainly will provide a better quality of life. By maintaining both cardiovascular and muscular fitness, you’ll be able to maintain your independence and integrity for a lifetime. And yes, if needed, weight loss will follow.
By: Jim Bompensa
Jim Bompensa has been a health club owner and manager, personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutrition specialist for the nearly 15 years. He is currently the owner/operator of Body Physics Fitness Center in Haddonfield, NJ. Jim has appeared and contributed on ABC and NBC in Philadelphia, PA as well as Designing Spaces on TLC.