We all know that we “should” exercise, and that regular movement lowers the rate of heart disease, lowers the risk of high blood pressure, moderates cholesterol levels, lowers inflammation, helps with weight maintenance and all that jazz. But exercise has benefits that extend to pretty much every area of health.
Stress and mood: regular movement reduces depression and anxiety, and helps improve mood and a sense of well-being. The evidence on depression is so strong that it’s a formal recommendation for treatment. Aerobic exercise seems most useful for combating depression.
Tummy troubles: It’s been well-established that any kind of physical activity helps with constipation, because it makes food move more quickly through the GI tract. Exercise also helps reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, even though it’s not clear exactly why.
Cancer: People who are physically active are less likely to get breast and colon cancer, and possibly lung, prostate and endometrial cancer, too. Regular exercise is one of the key recommendations for cancer survivors to lower the risk of re-occurrence.
Bones & joints: exercise strengthens bones, particularly weight bearing exercise, like walking, running, weights, dancing, tai chi, etc. This lowers the rate of hip fracture, and helps increase bone mass, too.
Builds the brain: most of the studies to date were done on furry little animals, but the studies are clear that regular movement plays a key role in brain growth and development.
Make it fun…
If you’re having fun, you’re more likely to do it, right? So choose something you think you’ll enjoy. And yes, I’m the little hula-hooper in the picture above, and I was having a great time moving!
Recipe: Banana ‘Scream
As the weather warms up, this is a great twist on the classic banana “soft serve”
1 banana, frozen, chopped into 5-6 chunks
1 TBSP liquor (chocolate liquor, Frangelico, whatever)
OR 1 TBSP “milk”, juice or water
1 pinch vanilla beans, cacao nibs, cinnamon, chocolate shavings or whatever other topping suits your fancy.
Blend banana and fluid of choice until smooth in the food processor. Add topping if desired and enjoy!
Harris Whole Health offers individual sessions, family sessions and group classes to help people eat healthier and feel better! Whether you are dealing with a specific health concern, or if you just improve your eating habits, Cheryl can help you achieve your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, please click here or call 571-271-8742.