Exercise 101

Making my way downtown

Walking fast, faces pass

And I’m home bound

— from “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa Carlton must be in a pretty good shape to be able to walk a thousand miles to just see a person. I don’t know how real that is, but in her song, she seems to be encourage everyone to walk—a good exercise! It is not surprising to see that the medical community just cannot stress enough how beneficial exercise is. It is believed to:

Cause release of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that make us happy and calm;
Lower the levels of chemicals that may worsen depression at the same time;
Decrease the risk of chronic diseases while strengthening the body;
Build up self-confidence and a general sense of euphoria.
Of course, for those who care about academics, research shows that exercising can help one to perform better! That is because shaking your body can also increase blood flow to the brain, so that is another bonus for those who exercise! As always, though, safety comes first. Here are some tips to avoid getting injured.

Do some warm-up activities before you begin! Take these few minutes so that you won’t get injured.
Drink plenty of water! Water can help you to continue your program without becoming dehydrated.
Increase the intensity slowly rather than overexerting yourself too much in a short period of time. That means it’s not a good idea to do 100 pushups if you haven’t been doing pushups on a regular basis!
Be aware when your body signals that you’re overdoing it! Feel free to take a break in between.
If you are concerned about your health, feel free to talk to your health care provider to brainstorm some good ideas on how to remain fit and, at the same time, how to not overdo it!
Find an exercise buddy to support each other! Remember, you don’t have to be alone in this!
Even though exercising for 30 minutes every day for 3 to 5 days per week is recommended, if you can’t make this commitment, it doesn’t mean you should avoid exercising all together! Here is what you can do.

Walking is also good for you! If you can, avoid riding to places accessible with your own two feet.
Another great way to keep your body moving is to take the stairs instead of taking the elevator! It may seem tiring at first, but it is a win-win-win (yes, three wins) situation: you keep your body working, you are saving energy, and others who really need the elevator can avoid the waiting!

A third way is to dance ahead! Dancing is also another fun way to entertain yourself while exercising at the same time. So if you get a break, feel free to get the groove on. Don’t feel embarrassed.
Finally, get involved! Join a dance group from a club, a yoga group from a local gym, or an intramural team from school or college! Following a schedule may motivate you to keep up the good work!

Following these simple procedures does not only benefit you in the present, but it also helps you in the future. So go ahead and walk those miles toward a new and improved you!