Think Fitness Not Just Weight Loss
Think Fitness First, the Weight Issue Will Take Care of Itself
So you want to lose some weight. Your first thought may be to go on one of the new fad diets or to simply change the amount and the types of foods you eat. Neither of these options are really the long term solution to losing weight and keeping it off. Let’s focus more on taking an approach of overall fitness through both an exercise standpoint as well as eating the proper diet. In this article, we are going to concentrate on the exercise component and how getting your body fit will affect shedding unwanted pounds.
Fitness is achieved by eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting the proper amount of sleep, and yes, even avoiding stress. Our goal should be to get to a level of physical fitness that allows us to function effectively in both our work and leisure activities, to avoid disease, and to be able to respond to most life situations as they occur.
Losing weight vs Fitness
Losing weight can be achieved through an exercise fitness program but fitness will not be the result of losing weight. For instance, crash dieting, eating the wrong foods, taking diet pills, or any other of the fast weight loss hyped methods are not only dangerous but are not sustainable for long term weight loss or fitness.
Getting fit results in building and toning muscle, burning calories, and improving the wellness of all of our body systems. Concentrating on weight loss will usually result in actual muscle loss, damage to many of our bodily systems, even the potential for adding more dangerous visceral fat that is stored around internal organs and can potentially cause serious disease.
Let’s take a look at the importance of fitness to the different body organ systems.
Fitness and the Cardiovascular System
Let’s start with one of the most important systems, the cardiovascular or circulatory system. Primarily here we are talking about the heart and the total vascular system. We all know that the heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the circulatory system delivering life giving oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in the body.
Exercise, including a certain amount of aerobic exercise, is necessary to keep that heart muscle strengthened so it can do its job properly. Our goal also is to avoid a heart attack or stroke which can be devastating to long term wellness. A healthy cardiovascular system is also important for building strength, stamina, and overall good health. Eating a proper diet prevents the blood vessels from thickening and therefore aids in proper blood circulation.
Just a cautionary note. Some people think that doing lots of aerobic cardio exercise will help lose weight. Not necessarily true. If fact, over doing it can result in your body feeling like it is being starved and will lead to over eating which leads to weight gain instead. It can also lead to injury and fatigue. Rather than long periods of aerobic exercise, alternate with lifting a few weights, doing body weight resistance exercises such as squats or push-ups. These will boost muscle growth which is necessary to burn more calories.
If you are looking for a simple exercise program to both get into shape and lose weight and that you can do either at home or at the health club, then take a look at my new program here: http://stayfitafter50.com/shape-it-up-boomers/
Fitness and Its Importance to Our Respiratory System
This leads us to the respiratory system where the oxygen contained in the blood is exchanged for the waste carbon dioxide to be exhaled by the lungs. Here again, our ability to transport, absorb, circulate life giving oxygen and to rid ourselves of the waste gases is dependent upon healthy lungs which can be improved with moderate exercise. Let’s also not overlook the importance of not smoking. I had to throw that in you know.
Let’s Not Forget Fitness and Our Digestive System
As you can imagine, our digestive system will react differently to the type of diet we consume. If we don’t eat the right types of foods we may suffer from constipation or a bloated feeling. Eating too much or too little can also have harmful effects on this system. Certain diets can lead to diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and in some cases additional weight gain after you stop the diet. Here again, exercise can be helpful in avoiding some of these uncomfortable digestive problems. Simple things like walking, deep breathing, or doing some simple resistance exercises will help.
How Does Fitness Relate to The Nervous System?
Here we are talking about our brain, spinal cord and all the nerves scattered throughout our body. Physical activity greatly contributes to keeping us sharp, agile, and alert. Rarely do we consider how either exercise or diet can affect the nervous system. However, both play a huge role here. Crash diets, pills, and just plain poor eating have negative effects on our mental health. Results can be foul moods, poor self-esteem, and other conditions that just contribute to more bad health. Instead, by implementing a long term program of fitness and proper diet, we will keep our nervous system function like a finely tuned instrument.
The Importance of the Musculoskeletal System to Our Overall Health and Fitness.
We use our musculoskeletal system in just about every movement we make every day. Having healthy and strong muscles and bones is essential to our ability to do all the functions we are asked to do daily. We need strength to lift and move. We need balance to keep ourselves upright and prevent falls. These are just a few of the benefits of a healthy musculoskeletal system.
A variety of exercises are necessary to keep this system functioning properly. Aerobics, resistance training, either with weights or body weight exercises, are both essential to accomplish this. Proper nutrition for muscle and bone growth are also critical to keeping this system healthy. Poor diets or eating bad foods results in muscle loss which causes weakness, and most likely in long term weight gain.
The Benefits of Fitness to Your Overall Health Are Numerous.
* We reduce the chances of developing diseases such as diabetes, cancer, IBS, and many other debilitating conditions
* Prevents body aches and pains
* Helps us achieve a good nights sleep
* Improves our overall performance and gives us more stamina
* Promotes longevity with quality of life
* Improves our mood and outlook on life
* Prevents excess body fat
By concentrating on fitness rather than weight loss, we can put our efforts into a more long term program for overall health. Usually, the benefits of diets and weight loss plans are short lived. Many times they result in increased weight gain and therefore contribute to lower self-esteem, which leads to more weight gain, and it becomes a vicious circle. By focusing on fitness and simply eating a variety of healthy foods, we can achieve both goals of moving closer to our ideal weight and having a toned and fit body. Now go exercise.