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4 Essential Exercises for a Healthier You

posted May 4, 2018, 2:38 PM by Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT   [ updated Jul 10, 2018, 1:55 PM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN ]
By: Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT

Daily physical activity is good for the mind and body.  In fact, studies show that just getting 30 minutes a day of physical activity, working your way up to 150 minutes a week, can reduce your chances of getting diabetes and promote overall excellent health.  To help you get active, here are the 4 types of exercise to include in your workout routine:

1)      Cardiovascular:  At least 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity will condition your heart, lower blood pressure and promote well-being.  Aerobic activity also helps increase your good cholesterol "HDL” levels.  Cardiovascular activities include:

  • Walking  (stairs at work, parking further away)
  • Running   
  • Swimming 
  • Dancing  
  • Vigorous Yard Work
  • Playing in recreational sports
  • Cycling  (ride bike to work)


2)      Strength training:  Inactive adults experience 3% to 8% loss of muscle mass per decade.  Less muscle mass equals slower metabolism and increased fat stores in the body.  Doing weight-bearing exercise can help boost your metabolism by increasing muscle mass.  Weight-resistance training helps promote healthy blood sugar levels, by making the body more insulin sensitive.   Studies have also shown a 1% to 3% increase in bone mineral density with consistent bi-weekly weight training. Examples of weight training, click here.

3)      Yoga Stretch:   As we advance in years, we tend to lose flexibility and balance.  Restorative and Hatha yoga are two main yoga practices, that incorporate stretching while holding gentle poses and focus on breathing throughout the class.  Regular practice of Hatha yoga also helps improve balance, flexibility, and strength.  Both practices have been shown to lower cortisol, a hormone that is increased in the body during times of stress, which can lead to weight gain and inflammation in the body.   The emphasis on being still and present while using our breath as a guide cultivates mindfulness.  Living a more mindful way can also help us change the habits that are not balancing for our well-being.  For specific yoga poses you can do at work, click here.


4)      Meditation/Mindfulness:  Meditation is a calm and relaxing practice that has many health benefits. Those who practice meditation daily, report improved focus in their day.  Studies have found that meditation may promote healthy blood pressure, improve anxiety and depression symptoms, and help promote sleep. Meditation can take on many forms, such as sitting completely still and focusing your breath or listening to a guided meditation.   Try taking a 60-second Mindful Break at work every hour. Focus on your breath or listen to quick guided meditation. There are many “meditation apps” available to help guide you into to mindfulness, click here to explores the to 2018 Mindful Apps


Make yourself a priority and commit to doing one of the top 4 exercises every day for health and well-being.  Always check with your doctor before taking on any exercises.  For more questions on exercise or nutrition, please look for the next "Dietitian Visit" at your IL Creations' Cafe.