The Life Saving Effects of Exercise

We all know that an active lifestyle is good for us. In fact, most of you would have a hard time getting through the day, let alone sleeping at night, without a good workout.

The effects of exercise are much wider reaching than we could have ever imagined however. Just about everything we do is dependent on staying active and keeping junk out of our bodies. Now don't worry, I'm not going to try to tell you to put down those peanut M&M's or skip the occasion cocktail, but just in case you are lacking motivation to workout on any given day, I offer the following reminders.

Exercise:

-Releases 'good' brain chemicals such as endorphins, catecholamines and brain-derived neurotropic factor. No you can't get addicted to them. But they are primarily stimulated by exercise and affect everything from your mood to your heart rate; even your long term memory.

-Reduces bodyweight, but more importantly, reduces the visceral fat that likes to build up on our internal organs. It does ugly things like pump chemicals we don't need into our system. Plus, it's ugly, real ugly.

-Increases blood flow, improves orgasm, increases testosterone and growth factor hormones.

-Helps you sleep better and more soundly.

This list could go on for a couple more pages, but i think you get the idea. We were born into a world more sedentary than any our genetics were designed for. Resist the urge to watch that TV show when you get home from work.

Don't sign on to Facebook or Twitter, I promise it will be there later.

Forget about exercising 'later.' Yeah, right, after a beer or a Jack n' Coke?

Instead, start moving, get your heart rate up, build some muscle. Here is a little workout I like to do when I head to the garage for a beer and see my gym staring me in the face. I think 'oooooh, but I don't have the energy...sniffle sniffle.' The cure for that? Get moving!

You don't have to change into your workout clothes (maybe you should if you're not in your pajamas yet.)

Just start rotating your neck, gently now, it's stiff from staring at a screen all day I bet. Now swinging an arm around in circles, small at first, then full arcing circles. Now switch to the other. If you want you can swing both around and run around in circles making airplane noises, whatever gets you going.

Now rotate those hips, loosen up, that's it. You know how to move your hips!

Ok, start doing calf raises, don't worry about weight for now. Just rise up and down on your toes, squeeze the calves at the top, now go faster, now pause at the top. Give yourself a number to hit. "I'm going to 20, 30,..."

Now bounce up and down in a partial squat while swinging your arms. Not a full squat, wait until you're warm. Get that stretch reflex in those leg muscles going. When you feel ready, start launching off the ground.

That's it, you're doing mini jump squats, plyometrics; build up to a high jump and knock out 20 or so of those. Feeling good? Right on, now the blood is flowing! The beer is still in the 'fridge, but it seems a little farther away now...

Ok, quick, arms out to the sides and rotate your trunk. Swing from side to side. After a few, squeeze the obliques on each side for about 2 seconds, release and repeat on the other side.

Now, if you are feeling warm, choose an exercise. Not two, not three. Not a whole bodybuilding program for a specific bodypart, not even a whole workout routine named after some random woman.

In my garage I see:

-Homemade sandbags, 40-80 lbs. I can choose the 80 and do lifts off the ground. Catch it in a full squat, then heave onto one shoulder. Start with three hard sets, then decide what else, if anything, i want to do.

-Pullup Bar/Homemade Gymnastics Rings: Hop on either one and start off by doing nothing but hanging while engaging your scapula. (Pull it back and down.) They call this active shoulder hangs.

When I'm ready I start doing pullups. I'll mix it up though. First hangs, then without letting go, pullups; without letting go I do knee or leg raises. Now, if I am on the rings I can swing my legs over and do flips or inverted positions, you see?

-Dumbbells: There in the middle of the rug are dumbbells, ready to clean and press. Hell, 5 sets of that and I won't feel bad about a beer at all! Great workout.

-Homemade Indian clubs: On the wall I have several homemade clubbells, a homemade mace, i can just pick any of these up and start swinging and swaying. Talk about getting the blood pumping!

You may not have any of this, but that's ok. Get on the floor, do pushups. Change the hand position. Don't pushup, just see how long you can hold yourself up. Do leg raises, squats, supermans, even shadowboxing.

Your workouts always deserve to be priority number one! So give them all you've got, even if you'd rather have a drink and watch TV. You will never regret ignoring that urge and exercising instead. Never.

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