Another Reason To Exercise, Especially During The Holidays
Written by: Kat Gal
The holidays give you a multitude of excuses NOT to exercise: too many cookies weighing you down, traveling to see relatives, having a hangover or a food coma, wishing to sleep in on your day off, family time, the cold temperatures outside and just simply giving yourself a day off (then another day off). The truth is though that the holidays should not be an excuse to slack off. Here is why.
Exercise has many benefits for your physical and mental health, including:
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Helps you to lose and maintain weight
- Strengthens your bones and muscles
- Reduces your risk of cancer
- Reduces your risk of diabetes
- Strengthens your immune system
- Improves your mood and mental health
- Makes your stronger and more energetic
One of the most important benefits of exercise is the immediate drop in blood pressure.
This immediate drop is called post-exercise hypertension that can lower your blood pressure by 5-7 mmHg after a session due to the dilation of your blood vessels.
The truth is that genetically, your body is hardwired to exercise. When you exercise, your muscles need oxygen-rich blood to work hard. Your body sends a signal from your brain to your heart to increase blood flow and blood pressure, making your systolic blood pressure rise all the way to 180 mmHg. However, this process offsets a quick lowering of your blood pressure after exercise, benefiting your body.
Why Is Blood Pressure Important?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is the primary contributor of death in the world. It increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Hypertension affects one-third of the U.S. population and kills more than 400,000 Americans a year.
It doesn’t only affect older people, but 19% of young adults have hypertension as well. Numbers are on the rise. Medical treatment and medication related to hypertension is 46 billion dollars a year in the U.S. alone. Yet what’s scary about hypertension is that it is a silent killer and you may not notice it until a stroke (or death).
The Good News Is That Even 10 Minutes Of Exercise Can Help
To prevent hypertension, exercise is one of the biggest weapons. Daily or near-daily exercise can lower your blood pressure. You don’t even have to exercise hours on end: a moderate 30 minute walk is absolutely effective. Even doing 3 rounds of a short 10-minute exercise session can lower your blood pressure.
However, consistency is the key. It needs to be daily or near daily without taking a week or weeks off for holidays. A short walk with friends and family this holiday season is not only enjoyable, but is also necessary for you health.
What forms of exercise will you engage in this holiday season? Share in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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