Your New Year’s Resolution, ‘This Year I Will Get Fit!’

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Exercise is supposed to broaden the mind, relieve bad moods and improve physical well being, yet why is it so hard to motivate ourselves to get up and moving?

In the modern world we work long hours and make very little time for us.

This leads to a continuous cycle of 'burning out', leaving us no energy to exercise. If this year your true goal is to begin a targeted exercise regime then it's time to push past the ‘ I can’t ’ and ‘I’m too tired’ and commit!

What are the Proposed Benefits of Exercise?

There are numerous benefits to exercising, that extend not only into the physical, but the mental and emotional too. These include the following:

  • Weight Control, Healthy BMI.
  • Reduced risk of Bowel and Hormone-related Cancers (testicular, ovarian, breast)
  • Enhanced glycemic control.
  • Improved Blood Lipids, I.e Lower LDLs, and Triglycerides, High HDLs.
  • Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which improve mental state, such as Depression and anxiety.
  • Increases bone density and strength. This reduces the risk of fractures and falls as we age.
  • Increases flexibility and suppleness of the joint.
  • Improves sleep, it can help put you in a deeper stage of sleep much faster [1].

Blair found that exercise fitness was a great predictor for life expectancy. He compared lack of ‘fitness’ over ‘fatness’ as a predictor for the length of life. Much to everyone’s surprise he found that a sedentary lifestyle had a much greater effect on length of life, than being overweight [2].

What Exercise are you recommended to do for each age range?

Young Adults, are considered those  under 19 years. They are advised to exercise 60 minutes a day, 7 days a week. The NHS suggests a mixture of 'Vigorous' and 'Moderate' activities. Vigorous activities include, hip-hop dancing, rugby, football, sprinting or gymnastics. Whereas, moderate exercise includes, swimming, walking, skateboarding, and non-competitive cycling [3].

Adults are those aged between 19 and 64 years. It is often difficult to stick to an exercise routine with the commitments of work and childcare. However, adults are advised to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week. Or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, this includes weightlifting for adults. Developing strength in the muscle can help to burn calories and enhance the metabolism. Additionally, you could mix a session of vigorous and moderate activity to get the best out of your workout [4].

Seniors are considered those older than 65 years. The focus shifts from being strong, and having a fast metabolism, to maintaining healthy joints, bones and muscles. When Senior years are reached you are advised to exercise 30 minutes, 5 days a week. The best exercises for the over 65s are those that bear less weight and have less force on the joints, e.g yoga, ballroom dancing, walking, golf and swimming. However, they are still encouraged to take part in strength exercises using either their own body weight or light weights [5].

Great Supplements to Boost your Exercise Ability

Whether it is energy or aches and pains, there are a number of supplements that may boost your sporting prowess.

Iron is an essential trace mineral that can be found in red meat, shellfish, legumes, dark leafy green vegetables and cocoa. Iron Deficiency is very common, especially in women, Vegetarians and Vegans. Iron is a major component of haemoglobin in our red blood cells. Without adequate haemoglobin the body is unable to carry oxygen to feed our muscles. Thus, causing easy fatigue. Dong Quai is a herbal supplement that hails from China. Amongst other therapeutic properties, Dong Quai is supposed to enhance oxygen transport to active tissues, being nicknamed the ‘Blood Mover’.

For Energy one of the best natural supplements for energy are the B-complex Vitamins. Particularly, Vitamins B3, B6 and B12. All 3 of the aforementioned are used within the body to prevent fatigue, metabolise nutrients for energy or invigorate the physical and mental systems. B Vitamins can be found in lean meat, fish, yeast, wholegrains, shellfish, organ meats, eggs and leafy greens. Or you may want to try natural herbal remedies such as Cordyceps or MacaCordyceps' full name is Cordyceps Sinensis, according to studies it has been linked with promoting energy within the cells of the body. On the other hand, Maca root extract is thought to be nature’s greatest source of energy. It has been used throughout history, peaking at the Incan era. It was given to soldiers of war to increase their stamina and endurance in battle. The most common pre-workout supplement taken across the world is Caffeine. This can be extracted naturally from coffee beans and tea leaves etc, however, due to high demand, much of it is synthetically made. Caffeine targets the nervous system and stimulates it, making the heart beat faster and deliver more oxygen to the active tissues. However, it is often frowned upon because it generates energy for a short boost, then ceases. Vitamin C is also involved in the production of energy within the body.

Vitamin C isn’t only responsible for energy production, but also the production of collagen. Collagen is a major component of ligaments and tendons that make up the joint. Poor Vitamin C can cause fatigue and aches within the joints. Whereas adequate Vitamin C can keep the joints supple. You may want to also conider trying a specific Bone or Joint Support tablet. Typically, they will contain a variation of Magnesium. Glucosamine, Vitamin D3, Calcium, Chondroitin, Turmeric, Vitamin K2. These nutrients will promote bone maintenance and dense bone structure. Furthermore, they will help to keep the joint healthy and supple. If exercise really takes it toll, and you begin to feel the aches and pains it may be advisable to take a bone, or a joint support tablet in order to best support joint recovery.

Top Tips for Exercising

    • Find your motivation. Whether it is losing weight or not getting out of breath running the stairs. Find that motivation that keeps you saying ‘Yes I Can!’
    • Make sport social, gather your friends and family for an activity, talking and having fun will make even the most difficult exercise session fly by.
    • Make it structured. Write a plan down, it makes it easier to adhere to. i.e. Gym Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Swimming on Friday and Golf on Sunday.
    • Have a goal. It’s great to have fitness specific goal such as taking part in a marathon or doing a sponsored walk.
    • Find a sport you love, exercise shouldn’t be a chore.
    • Get the Children or Grandchildren Involved! Sometimes it’s difficult to find motivation to exercise as an adult. Children tend to have energy to spare and require at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. The best way to help them achieve their goal, and for you to achieve yours is through active play.
  1. Mayo Clinic. (2016). Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity.Available: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389.
  2. Blair SN, Kampert JB, Kohl HW, 3rd, Barlow CE, Macera CA, Paffenbarger RS, Jr, Gibbons LW.: Influences of cardiorespiratory fitness and other precursors on cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in men and women. JAMA 1996;276: 205– 210
  3. NHS. (2015). Physical activity guidelines for children and young people. Available: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-young-people.aspx.
  4. NHS. (2015). Physical activity guidelines for adults. Available: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx.
  5. NHS. (2015). Physical activity guidelines for older adults. Available: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-older-adults.aspx.

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