The Benefits of Exercise

The holiday season is upon us, and as everyone knows it is the best time of the year to overindulge in some dietary rule-breaking meals.  After all, it is nearly impossible to say no to all of those yummy, festive foods!  The change in weather can also lend itself to a modification of your physical activity routine.  Many people are less likely to engage in outdoor physical activity if you have to bundle up in a coat, hat, mittens and gloves.  Lastly, exercise routines can be difficult to establish if you have back, knee or foot problems that limit your abilities for physical exercise.  That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though!  Physical exercise has so many health benefits and can always be modified to decrease the stress on your joints and feet.  We are going to review five fantastic low-impact exercises that can be performed in the comfort of your own home or at a gym and have great results. 

1.    Walking:  Walking is a wonderful way to burn calories and avoid the stress on your joints caused by running.  One of the great things about walking is you can do it almost anywhere!  Walking on an indoor track, treadmill or around a mall is a great way to keep up on your walking routine during the cold winter months or the hot summer! 

2.  Water aerobics/Swimming:  Water aerobics and swimming is often overlooked as a wonderful low-impact way to exercise.  While in the water there is virtually no pressure or stress on your joints and feet.  This allows your body to relax and decreases the discomfort associated with exercise.  Many facilities with an indoor pool offer water aerobics classes year-round. 

3.  Stair climbing:  Stair climbing is a fantastic way to increase your heart rate and burn calories.  Another great benefit is it can be done right at home!  If you don’t have a staircase at your home many gyms have a ‘stepmill’ that simulates walking up stairs.  Just climbing the steps a few extra times a day is a great way to stay in shape. 

4.  Pilates/Yoga:  Pilates and Yoga are a fantastic workout to do at home.  Start with an instructional video for beginners.  Most videos demonstrate modifications for each exercise based on your comfort level and experience. 

5.  Bicycling:  Bicycling is another fantastic low-impact activity.  Bicycling is easy on your joints and is a great way to increase your heart rate.  During those hot/cold months you can keep up your routine by using a stationary bicycle.

Exercise has many benefits both mentally and physically.  With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays it can be easy to forget about exercising.   However, making sure you engage in 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week should be a high priority.  And, it won’t make you feel as bad for overindulging during the holidays!  

P.S.  Remember to consult your physician before starting an exercise program and always  remember to wear proper shoe gear when exercising! 

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