Carolyn Hansen: You'd be wise to make exercise a priority and never stop

The only way to experience positive and long-term health benefits such as living longer and avoiding serious health issues, is to make exercise a priority. There is no way around this. Our bodies were created to move and our muscles were created to be strong.

Exercise is a super-power that reduces chronic inflammation, strengthens the immune system and keeps our hormones humming, balanced and working at peak performance.

The truth is, we have at our disposal the most powerful health solution to keeping our bodies healthy and strong, yet many people still avoid exercise, claiming that their lives are too busy and there is simply not enough time.

“I don’t have enough time” to exercise becomes their excuse – their mantra. It is the most overused excuse for not getting in shape and one that holds no weight.

When putting together your exercise set, it's best to choose four or five basic compound movements. Getty Images
When putting together your exercise set, it’s best to choose four or five basic compound movements. Getty Images

Although it is true that this busy modern world places many demands on our time, the reality is, there is always time for exercise if it has been given its proper place on our priority list.

There are a variety of ways to incorporate some form of challenging exercise into any weekly schedule without taxing an already over demanding schedule.

All it takes is 12-15 minutes of focused workout time to get a phenomenal workout in. And, using the right exercises, two to three sessions weekly of 30-40 minutes is all that is required to rebuild, build or maintain body strength.

Resistance training, the kind that incorporates compound movements, is the best type of exercise you can choose and offers the greatest and quickest results.

Slow Weight Training is one version of resistance training that seems to work well for many people. By slowing everything down, exercises are turned into high-intensity exercises.

Proponents believe slow lifting/training has a definite advantage over standard weight-training techniques because it places greater demands on the muscles. This in turn, burns calories faster while minimising the jerking motions that can otherwise result in injuries.

However, don’t be fooled by the word “slow”. Make no mistake – slow weight training is intense exercise. After “slow-motion” strength training, there won’t be any doubt that your muscles have been worked.

When putting together your exercise set, it’s best to choose four or five basic compound movements. These types of exercises work major muscles through their full ranges of movement under an adequate load so that strength is built or maintained.

One example set might include a chest press, a chin up or pull down and a rowing.
Either free weights or resistance training machines can be used. One advantage that resistance machines offer is they free your mind up and allow it to focus on the effort as opposed to the movement.

Begin your session by selecting a weight that is light enough to allow you to perform eight repetitions but not more than 12. If you can squeeze more than 12 it’s time to switch to a heavier weight.

Although you do not have to spend a great deal of time exercising, you must put some focused effort into it. You must continually challenge your muscles to stay strong or they will continue to weaken and your disease risk increases. Make sure to put some intensity (degree of effort) into each exercise.

That which does not challenge you, will not change you. Intense effort produces intense results. Weak effort produces its kind.

Remember, our bodies were designed to be highly active and vigorous – not dormant. They are capable of so much physical strength but our sedentary lifestyles are stealing it away and along with it, our health and longevity.

If health and longevity are important to you, you’d be wise to make exercise a priority and get started on a challenging strength training programme and never stop. It is the only way to reboot entire body strength and bolster disease protection.

It offers plenty of “bang for your buck” wouldn’t you agree?

■ Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness