“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”
~ John F. Kennedy
When people think of physically fit individuals, they likely consider marathon runners, flexible strong gymnasts, or professional athletes. They don’t often think about the average human being. This is discouraging for most people, which then leads to not believing they can also be physically fit and healthy. The definition of physically fit, as identified by exercise physiologists, is “a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, resist diseases from sedentary lifestyles, and to meet emergency situations.” A healthy lifestyle is attainable and maintainable.
Most people think the amount of daily physical fitness needed in their lives is generally much greater than base necessity. This misconception leads to people feeling overwhelmed and either not starting or quitting. In fact, to have a positive effect on your mental and physical health, 20-30 minutes of moderately intense exercise three to five times a week is all that is needed. Moderately intense exercise means that you should be breathing a littler heavier than normal, but are not necessarily out of breath, and that you feel warmer, but are not necessarily overly hot and sweaty. Research suggests that working your way up to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week will offer the most significant and long-term benefits. Scientific evidence proves that physical activity can help maintain body weight over time using this weekly framework.
The importance of physical activity in the promotion of good mental health is an additional benefit to increasing physical fitness. Regular exercise supports a sense of purpose and value, improved sleep, reduced stress, increases your “feel good” hormones, and much more. Physical activity can also be used to combat anxiety and depression.
While this Texas winter has been a little less wintery than expected, it's still a far cry from the sweltering heat of Austin TX in mid-July. While hot whether has been shown to make one more irritable, colder whether comes with its own set of problems. Due to chilly weather, less sunshine, and common seasonal illnesses, many find that they spend far more time in doors during the winter months. Pair this with potentially holiday stress and shortbread cookies peeking their buttery heads around every corner, and its easy to see why so many struggle with emotional and physical lethargy.
We suggest treating yourself to a hot yoga class to warm yourself up, get those endorphins pumping, and fight off that holiday weight gain. Yoga has been extensively studied over the past few decades with very promising results. Hot yoga specifically has been shown to help one control their breathing, decrease ones stress response (and ones overall anxiety levels), and to help detoxify the body through promoting sweating. Also, it can also offer a caring environment if classes are regularly attended.
If you are interested in trying hot yoga, Austin has several locations at which you can find classes.
Please feel free to browse past fitness tips to maximize your physical fitness.
November: What to Avoid After a Workout
October: Sprinting Past the Finish Line
September: Weight Training for Beginners
August: Morning Glory
March: Just Keep Swimming...
February: From Couch to 5k
January: Cold Weather Exercise Tips
December: Five Best Exercises
November: Toning Exercises
October: Stretching Essentials
September: Starting a Swim Routine