Absolutely not! Exercise is what makes you feel and look younger than your physiological age. You've probably heard that people who work out feel young. It's not an exaggeration. A consistent workout regime does make you look and feel younger and you don't have to hit the gym to accrue these benefits. Any exercise will do but the key is find the activity you really enjoy. You will be consistent in exercising when you do the activity you enjoy. Outdoor biking, walking, jogging, swimming, basketball, tennis, and hiking are just some examples of cardio activities. Pushups, sit ups, squats, lunges, and step-ups are some examples of strength activities you can do outside the gym.
The benefits of being physically active include feeling stronger, having more stamina and energy, increased flexibility, feeling more virile, reduced stress, feeling good about yourself, maintaining muscle mass, having improved posture and ability to concentrate, better sleep, etc. Your life expectancy will increase when you become more physically active. Exercise will reduce your risk of many chronic diseases including type-2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and some cancers.
So how do you get started if you've been inactive? The answer is to take the gradual approach to exercising. Begin with only 10 to 20 minutes two to three times per week to get you started. This approach will lessen the likelihood of getting injured or too sore. As you become acclimated to physical activity, you will need to gradually increase the progression by increasing either the exercise duration or intensity level. Ultimately, aim for 2 to 3 days of strength training exercises for 30 to 60 minutes per session and 3 to 5 days of cardio activities for 20 to 60 minutes per session each week.
The bottom line is get get your heart rate elevated into the exercise zone (i.e., greater than 100 bpm) most days of the week. Don't be a "weekend warrior". You cannot be physically fit by just working out on weekends. In order to get the benefits of exercise, you need to be more consistent in your physical activity level. Remember to begin gradually--the worst thing to do is to jump into it with full force and end up feeling overwhelmed. Before you know it, performing consistent exercise will feel effortless and something to look forward to as part of your daily lifestyle.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.