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Future Health

Does Your Exercise Program Work?

June 12, 2015 

Why is it that some people start an exercise program and see immediate results, while others put in seemingly endless effort with only minimal outcomes?

While the most common goals of daily physical activity are to attain or maintain a healthy weight and carve an attractive physique, these are only two of a myriad of advantages and ways to measure whether your exercise program is working.

In fact, the most powerful gains we get from exercise are the ones that can’t be seen in the mirror or on the scale.  These include lowering blood pressure, boosting good cholesterol and reducing the bad cholesterol also known as triglycerides. The synergy of these changes in lipids makes the sum greater than the parts – raising the good and lowering the bad lipids combined gives the most benefit to your heart.

Another benefit is the boost in energy and outlook on life, mood and attitude. Exercise also lowers the levels of the hormone cortisol, helping us fight stress long after we leave the gym.

Not only does exercise improve your muscle strength, if you include weight training it also increases your endurance for your daily activities.

Regular exercise can lead to healthy sleep habits by helping you fall asleep more quickly and fall into a deeper sleep.

Try these tips to get the most out of your current exercise routine.

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Exercise with a friend.
  3. Use a Body Mass Index calculator to check generalized improvements.
  4. Change your exercise routine every 4-6 weeks.
  5. Eat slow-digesting carbs such as sweet potato and quinoa, healthy fats such as nuts and avocados, and lean protein from chicken and fish.
  6. Include strength training and aerobic exercises, and try changing the sequence.
  7. Take shorter rest periods between exercises to boost fat loss.

The bottom line is that we shouldn’t just measure our improvements with a mirror and a scale. For the unseen and often more important benefits, we can follow up with our doctor with diagnostics such as blood tests. In addition to the quantifiable benefits, we can pay closer attention to changes in quality of life in terms of mood, sleep, stress, strength and endurance.