By Danielle Casey Special to the Chronicle
There is a simple way to add additional years to your life. It is not surgery or some special pill. It is simply exercise. Regular exercise can not only add those extra years but also improve your overall health. More energy, stronger muscles and a clearer complexion are all an attainable part of your future.
Getting started is the hardest part. I get it: the walk to the fitness center is a workout in itself and sometimes the temptation to head back to your dorm after a long day of classes is too hard to resist. But if performed consistently, exercise can become a rewarding and enjoyable part of your daily routine.
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? Eating fatty foods causes cholesterol to build up in our arteries, making it difficult for blood to travel to and from our heart. Exercising regularly and eating healthy, nutritious foods will make our hearts stronger and prevent the buildup of cholesterol. It is crazy that the number one killer in the United States is that preventable disease.
In addition to improving our health, regular exercise can give us more energy and make us feel better. After a workout, our bodies release hormones, called endorphins, which put us in a good mood. As our muscles become stronger, the chores of everyday life will become less and less tiring. Our heart will have to work less to pump blood and transfer oxygen throughout our bodies.
Now that you have a reason to exercise, you need the drive to develop a routine and stick with it. Setting goals is imperative to staying motivated. Maybe you want to complete a 5K, maybe you want to improve your endurance, or maybe you don’t want to be mistaken as Santa Claus at your next holiday party. Whatever it is that you hope to obtain, having a distinct goal will help keep you on track.
It would be conducive to make exercising a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or setting your alarm clock. You should pick a time that works for you and stays consistent. If you are a morning person, you can hit the gym right after breakfast. Maybe you would rather swim laps in the pool every Tuesday and Thursday after your last class. In the beginning you will have to consistently think about it, but before you know it, working out will just become another habit.
For some people, working out with a group of friends gives them the extra push they need. If you know someone is waiting for you at the gym, you will be less likely to “just skip tonight’s workout.” The guilt will be way too much to handle, and you will be forced to improve your health.
Exercise doesn’t have to be all about jogging on the treadmill and lifting weights. Hofstra’s fitness center offers group classes including yoga, zumba, cross fit and cycle. We have an amazing pool and basketball courts at our disposal. Grab some friends and try something new. Believe it or not, exercise can actually be fun! You just have to find what is right for you. Take advantage of all the opportunities Hofstra has to get fit; you will be happy you did.