I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the new year to begin — ready to get back into my routine and to start feeling like myself again — I’m feeling the effects of all of the excesses of the holiday season. A little bit groggy and sluggish, not as sharp as I normally am. Too much merriment does take its toll over time.
According to a recent poll, the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and/or begin an exercise program — if you’ve resolved to get healthier by moving your body, here’s some excellent motivation. A recent study suggests that as far as prevention goes, exercise is the best preventive medicine there is for just about every ailment we can imagine.
Most of us know the myriad benefits associated with exercise, such as reducing risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and type 2 diabetes — additionally, it is wonderful anecdote for depression and it even improves sleep quality. Research has shown that for some women, exercise eases the pain from chemotherapy after breast cancer.
And, not only does exercise reduce risk of a first heart attack or stroke, it actually reduces risk of subsequent cardiovascular events for those who have suffered an initial heart attack or stroke.
The beauty of exercise is that there are no side effects because it’s something our bodies were designed to do — virtually every organ in our bodies benefit from exercise — it even improves cognitive function — studies have shown that it actually decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
So, this year make exercise a priority. If you’ve not exercised in the past, no worries — check with your doctor and start slowly. In no time you’ll be hooked. Those endorphins we feel after a workout act as “natural” opiates; our brains produce the hormone after vigorous activity. “Runner’s high” is a very real phenomenon.
The news is even better if you’ve had an exercise program in the past — our muscles have memory, so what took you one year to achieve the first time you stuck with an exercise regimen will only take about four months this go ’round.