Lose Weight In 15 Minutes or Less Per Day: 7 Day Home Workout Program

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Book Review – “15 Minutes to Fit: The Simple 30-Day Guide to Total Fitness, 15 Minutes At A Time”

If you haven’t heard of Zuzka Light by now, you can expect to in the near future. Zuzka is a YouTube fitness sensation who starting filming fitness videos in her basement and built up a following of millions! Zuzka is leading a new breed of fitness personalities, and she has brought in some big help in putting this book together. Co-Author Jeff O’Connell has written a number of fitness books and is the editor in chief at BodyBuilding.com. In 15 Minutes to Fit, Zuzka and Jeff give us a comprehensive 30-day workout plan that takes no longer than 15 minutes a day! With a meal plan to accompany your workout schedule, information to explain what you are doing and why it works, and some personal stories from Zuzka about her own struggles, this is far more than just a diet book. 15 Minutes to Fit will change your life.

Features of “15 Minutes to Fit: The Simple 30-Day Guide to Total Fitness, 15 Minutes At A Time” by Zuzka Light

  • 288 pages
  • 30-day workout plan
  • 15 minutes exercising per day
  • Meal plan accompaniment
  • Facts, figures, and photographs to illustrate every point

Is “15 Minutes to Fit: The Simple 30-Day Guide to Total Fitness, 15 Minutes At A Time” by Zuzka Light Worth Buying?

When you see fitness or exercise workout books making claims as startling as 15 Minutes to Fit, it is understandable that your natural reaction is one of disbelief and doubt. However, Zuzka has been doing this for a long time, and she wouldn’t have so many million followers around the world if she didn’t know what she was talking about. 15 Minutes to Fit really can do what it says, and her millions of subscribers give credibility to her claims.

The book itself is well put together. The exercises are well explained, not only for posture and form but explanations as to why they work. When combined with a meal plan that explains how and where you get your energy from, 15 Minutes to Fit starts to all make sense. It’s not just about what you do to burn out calories, but how you take them in in the first place.

It is also worth noting that 15 Minutes to Fit gives us some insight into Zuzka’s life and personal struggles, something that has rarely been covered in the past. This is extremely motivating and helps you appreciate that many other people are struggling with the same problems that you are having. It also reminds us that we can overcome whatever we set our minds to. 15 Minutes to Fit will be a massive seller for years to come, and it’s easy to see why. This is a fantastic workout book.

Customer Reviews

15 Minutes to Fit is available on Amazon and it has amazing reviews, receiving 4.8 our 5 stars! If you are looking to increase and continue your home workouts, you owe it to yourself to get this book.

Why Your Mind Won’t Let You Lose Weight

Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to get rid of that stubborn fat?

You know, even when you have convinced yourself, this time will be different?

Maybe you went on a diet, joined a gym, bought that cool fitness gadget from an infomercial or bought a 90 day program and you told yourself this time was going to be different. You would lose that weight permanently! You would show everyone that you could change.

…Then suddenly!

There it was; that feeling. Everything didn’t feel right. Excuses flooded your mind, your desire dropped; your heart just wasn’t in it anymore. Maybe you made it a few days, a week or even a month.

You were so confident, everything was right earlier. And now…YOU JUST CAN’T DO IT!

Now, something is going on in your mind and it’s like your 2 different people. One with a sure-fire plan to lose weight and the other one thinks you’re crazy and wants you to devour that large bag of nachos, drink a case of beer and do whatever you like.

Heck, even your body is acting like it wants to be anywhere but in those workout clothes.  It’s trying to pull you back, and drag you back to what was familiar — Your old behaviors.

Listen… It’s not because you are wuss!

It’s because your subconscious blueprint is running the show.

What do I mean by that?

I’m speaking about your mental digital recorder that holds every perception and experience you’ve have gained since a child, which forms the beliefs which drive your response and in turn creates your experience.

It’s the very thing that both DRIVES and BLOCKS your desires in life.

Think about it.

Have you ever had a moment when you are driving and everything feels like it’s on autopilot. You’re not thinking about shifting, looking in your mirrors, indicating or switching lanes. It’s all occurring like clockwork, without much thought.

That’s because after you’ve been driving for many years. Things become second nature. The conscious mind no longer has to think about them like it did when it was learning. Now while this can support our daily lives, it can also hinder us.

Consciously you might want to lose weight, but subconsciously your recorder is telling you if you do that, you might lose something else ……. Fill in the blank with whatever that might be ( time, money, no longer get pity from others, hurt yourself etc ) that’s when the excuses start and before long you are back to square one, munching down on cookies.

So how do you change that?

Some go to hypnotists to change that mental blueprint.Others just realize that change, and new pathways inside your mind can only be created with some resistance. What I am saying is you have to expect that your mind will try to resist any CHANGE, even if it’s good for you.

You could say your primal survival instincts kick in. In fact it’s the first behavior that we learned as humans. To protect ourselves from getting hurt! An instinct that takes over immediately when the situation looks dangerous or threatens our NORMAL way of life.

Might sound extreme but your brain perceives it exactly the same. Listen, it’s easy to overcome this. But you have to understand what is going on.

…you have the physical aspect (you physically feel overweight and know you need to change)

…you have the mental aspect (the worries, the cost, time etc)

…you have the behavioral aspect (you end up reaching for cookies at eleven at night when you really should just drink water or go to bed)

The physical and the mental affect the outcome of your behaviors. And NO amount of trying to THINK different thoughts helps. You can’t convince yourself when your conscious and subconscious mind is at odds. No matter how hard you try.  It isn’t happening!

BUT listen, here’s how you overcome it.

Your thoughts and physical sensations are out of your control. Just accept that. It won’t change; they are out of your control. Seems bad right? It’s not. FEEL it, be in that moment, and don’t run. Just embrace it.

The first step isn’t DOING, it’s BEING! Being in the moment, being in the place of fear of failing again. Like someone who’s scared of water. If they thrash around they will drown. If they just relax, make slow movements and just be present. They will float.

— key tip: Just experience the moment and take small steps towards losing weight

Don’t do drastic things like go on restrictive diets, join a crazy bootcamp. Begin with small body movements. Use what you have around you. Don’t go buy weights when you could use a bottle of water as one. Don’t go to a gym, when you can use your body at home and do movement that is natural, easy and a lot less expensive.

Start your journey to a healthier lifestyle by starting small. Work out around your house using your body weight and other items to help you get in shape. This way you wont have excuses about going to the gym, not having time etc. Check out my 7 Day Home Workout to get started:

7 Day Home Workout Program

Stay Faithful to Your Workout Regimen – Here’s How!

How many times have you started a new workout routine only to allow yourself to be distracted or even blindsided, so that procrastination sabotages your new physique and overall health? If you’re like most adults, the conservative answer is “more than once!” Well, no more – you owe it to yourself to commit to improving your health, appearance, self-confidence and more. What follows are some tips to help you achieve exactly that!

# 1 – Prioritize Your Workout!

This simply means setting up your schedule for working out so that nothing short of an emergency will sideline you showing up, working out and feeling great (as well as proud of yourself!) Establish regular days of the week and consistent times for your workouts – keeping a set schedule will help you strengthen your commitment to yourself for your workout, and allow you to schedule other activities around your workout, instead of the other way around.

Think about the crucial investment you’re making in yourself – improving your overall health, feeling good about how you look, increasing your energy levels – it’s truly a no-brainer, right? Even if you’re one of those generous people who always put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own, decide right here and now that you’re going to be a stickler on this and take the best care possible of yourself. Remember, nobody can do that better than YOU!

Here’s another interesting benefit you’ll notice – the more regularly you work out, the more your body starts actually CRAVING the workouts, due to the release of endorphins (what a great natural rush!) and the increased energy you’re sure to create. Enjoy!

# 2 – Keep Your Workout “Tools” Readily Accessible

So, if you’re someone who really gets your workout jammin’ best with your favorite revved up tunes, obviously you’ll want to keep your favorite mp3 player and ear buds in your gym bag, along with anything else that you use in your workout…maybe workout gloves, a support belt/brace, your workout shoes, fresh socks, a clean towel or two…if you swim, of course your suit and any other necessary swimming gear – you get the picture.

If your workout includes a yoga class here and there, this also means keeping your yoga mat (along with stretch bands and support blocks, if you need/use them) handy. Have your bottle of water or other healthy workout beverage ready to go as well.

Be sure you launder any of your necessary equipment that might need it, and your workout clothes well in advance, so they’re always ready to go when you are. Ample preparation = success! And avoids an ‘escape hatch” of an excuse. No more sabotage! Remember?

# 3 – Inform Your Support Circle of Your Workout Schedule

If you have family at home or good friends you’re in regular communication with, it’s a good idea to make them aware of your normal workout schedule. Those who love you will be happy to be supportive, and less likely to bug you to rearrange your schedule, when you let them know how important working out is to you. Essentially, it’s every bit as critical as attending a business meeting or class, so let them know that.

# 4 – Regularly Visualize Your Body as You Want it to Be!

Using the power of visualization to get into the “feeling essence” of your ideal body is very helpful, and motivating!  In other words, spend a few minutes a week (perhaps on the days in between your workouts, but on a daily basis is great, too) imagining how great you’re going to feel and look once you reach your ideal body weight and size. Really get into the emotional aspects of it, too, rather than simply passively conjuring up an image. When you engage as many of your senses as possible, your commitment will become that much stronger!

If there is a time when you were actually AT your ideal weight and size and you have a picture of yourself then, place that picture somewhere prominent, where you’ll see it every day. People have reported that posting this type of picture on their refrigerator or pantry door helps them avoid being tempted to cheat and not eat healthily. Putting it on your desk, on your car visor – wherever it works best for YOU is the place to choose.

# 5 – Only Stock HEALTHY Foods at Home

It’s a long established fact that proper diet COMBINED with physical exercise will create the optimum effects you’re after, as opposed to doing just one or the other. So although this article is primarily focused on working out, a nod to proper nutrition is essential as well.

Keeping only healthy foods in your home is the logical way to avoid temptation, so lots of healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and other whole foods are the kinds of things to stock up on. And follow that helpful old adage – “Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!” If you ignore that, you’ll be much more tempted to “backslide” and buy things that are full of empty calories, sugar and chemicals.

In the same vein, cut fast food out of your life!  If you do imbibe in fast food now and again, many of the prominent chains now have healthy alternatives to fried, greasy food, such as salads, smoothies and the like. However, if you can avoid those establishments altogether (or pretty much so), again, you’ll avoid temptation.

And chew your food S L O W L Y – chew it thoroughly and take your time. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the taste and texture of your food, so don’t gobble it down. Allow ample time to eat each meal mindfully and enjoy it – science has proven that it takes a minimum of 15 minutes for our stomach to send the signal to our brain that says, “I’m full now.” Once you register that message, put down the fork,spoon or food and just move on to another activity, easy peasy.  Dish up proper portions to begin with, if you were raised to be a “clean plate kid,” so you avoid that trap of overeating.

# 6 – Stay Hydrated – VERY Crucial to your Success!

When you work out, you lose hydration through perspiration. This is a simple fact, and you need to replenish those fluids, so always keep that bottle of good quality H2O handy. If you want to be as green as possible, then use a regular favorite water container and refill it with good water, rather than buying multiple plastic bottles of the clear stuff.

Making sure you stay hydrated ALL the time is important, too. Recent studies have shown that many times when people feel like they’re experiencing a hunger pang, it’s often their body signaling them that they are dehydrated, not hungry! So try slowly drinking 6 to 8 ounces of good quality water next time that happens, and hopefully, that will help you avoid the urge to visit the nearest vending machine filled with sugary or salty junk!

So, hopefully these six tips will motivate you on your way to better health, having more energy and stamina, and feeling great about the way you look. The ball’s in your court now – go for it, and have FUN!

What is High Intensity Training and What Makes It So Great?

Throughout the year, many people make the promise to themselves that they will get in shape. Losing weight and building muscle are two of the most common fitness goals, but some people are unsure about how to achieve these goals. High intensity training is one of the best ways for you to reach your goals because of its efficiency, cardiovascular benefits, and physical and mental challenge.

What Is High Intensity Training?

If you have never dieted before, your idea of high intensity might be the situation that takes place when there is only one donut left in the box in your office break room. However, in the fitness realm high intensity has a different definition. High intensity simply refers to a workout that pushes your body to the limit. There are two broad classes of high intensity workouts: cardiovascular training and strength training.

Cardiovascular High Intensity Training

High intensity cardio is great for burning calories quickly. With high intensity cardio, there is no question that you will be getting an intense exercise session in. During high intensity cardio, you will not have the time or energy to thumb through the latest gossip rag to find out which celebrity just got a nose job. Several of the most common types of high intensity cardio are:

  • Sprinting: running extremely hard for a set amount of time. This can be done on a treadmill, sidewalk, road, or running track.
  • Rowing: an Olympic sport, but if you do not have a boat or a large body of water, you can find machines at your gym to use for this exercise
  • Bicycling: You can either use stationary biking or ride an actual bicycle, depending on your tastes and how fashionable your biking clothes are.

One of the major benefits of high intensity cardiovascular training is that it will help you raise your metabolism. When you engage in high intensity training, your heart rate stays elevated for the hours after you work out. This means that you burn more calories even at a resting rate. You may also see high intensity training referred to as high intensity interval training, or HIIT. This is because high intensity training requires you to exercise in intensity intervals. For example, you might sprint as hard as possible for 30 seconds, then walk or jog slowly for a minute, and repeat that intervallic cycle for the duration of your workout.

High Intensity Strength Training

High intensity strength training is similar to cardiovascular training, except it involves lifting heavy stuff. With high intensity strength training, you perform the same types of lifts, but with a higher amount of weight. Another one of the hallmarks of high intensity strength training is lifting until failure. In short, this means that you lift weight until you are unable to do any more reps with proper form. One of the most important issues to consider when engaging in high intensity strength training is rest. You must make sure that you are taking enough time between workouts so that your muscles can recover: otherwise you run the risk of overstressing your body.

The Benefits Of High Intensity Training

So now that you know some of the details about what exactly high intensity training is, you may be wondering what the big fuss is. Why are so many people engaging in high intensity training? There are several reasons.

  • Efficiency: In some cases, you can burn the same amount of calories or build the same amount of muscle with a workout that lasts just ten or fifteen minutes as you would in double or triple that amount of time doing a moderately paced exercise. High intensity training can be great for people that have limited time to work out.
  • Cardiovascular benefits: High intensity training can improve the health of your heart as well as your endurance. The more you work out your heart and cardiovascular system, the better shape it will be in.
  • Metabolism boost: Studies show that high intensity training will help boost your metabolism all day. Dr. Michael Bracko reports that high intensity cardiovascular training will help you elevate the amount of calories that you burn for 1.5 to 24 hours after you exercise.
  • Challenge: Who doesn’t like a good challenge? When you have a high intensity workout, there is no way that you will be able to say that you slacked off. Even though you won’t be working out as often or for as long as people that do moderate or low-intensity workouts, you will be able to take pride in the fact that you kicked your own butt for a certain period of time.
  • Variety: High intensity training is great for people that get bored of working out easily, because you can do so many different exercises with it. Beyond the basic forms of cardio like running, bicycling, and swimming, you can apply it to hybrid cardiovascular workouts like jump squats or burpees. On the strength training side, you can apply the high intensity philosophy to almost any lift, as long as you have proper form and do not use more weight than you can handle.

Precautions With High Intensity Training

Although high intensity training is a very effective way to shed pounds and build muscle, there are some precautions. If you are extremely out of shape and it has been a while since you worked out last, you should start with a more moderate form of exercise and work your way up to high intensity training. If you have a medical condition, especially one involving the cardiovascular or muscular system, talk to your doctor before you start on a high intensity training routine. You do not want to run the risk of injuring yourself because of health issues, as it is hard to get in better shape from a hospital bed.

Almost everyone wants to improve the way their body looks, but not everyone has the dedication to do so. With high intensity training, you can achieve your goal of gaining muscle or dropping unwanted fat in a fun, challenging way. It will take time, sweat, and dedication, but if you find or create a high intensity training program that is right for you and stick to it, you can unlock your ideal physique sooner than you might think.

11 Exercises That You Are Wasting Your Time With

Workouts are intended to help increase your level of physical fitness, while also firming and toning certain muscles. Unfortunately, not all workouts are effective, and some can even do more harm than good to your body. Here are eleven workouts and/or individual exercises that you should not waste your time doing.

Machine Exercises

Adductor Machine Exercises

Adductor machines are intended to target the inner or outer thighs in order to make them smaller. These exercises cannot reduce the amount of fat in this area, and also do not mimic any movements your body naturally does. You could even put additional strain on your knees and hips if you add too much weight to the machine. Standing adductor exercises are far more effective, and can be done with or without ankle weights to ensure you don’t overdo it.

Seated Leg Extensions

Seated leg extensions are often done on a weighted machine, which contains a seat that must be adjusted according to the height of the user. Most people fail to adjust this seat properly, if at all. This results in poor posture during the exercise, not to mention additional stress on the hip joints. Even when seated properly in the chair, the fact that the weight tends to be all on one end places too much stress on the knees. For a better quadriceps workout, squats and lunges are far more effective.

Lateral Pull-Downs behind the Head

Lateral pull-downs can put too much stress on the neck, shoulders and upper back whenever you allow weights to come behind your head. Some people could also have a tendency to lean slightly forward when doing them, thereby resulting in bad posture. Lateral pull-downs can be effective whenever you bring the weight to chest level, hold for a couple of seconds, and then return slowly to the starting position.

Smith Machine Squats

The Smith Machine contains a barbell, which is fixed into position, and can be used to perform a number of exercises. The idea behind people using this machine is safety, since weights cannot fall on you while you are lifting. Even so, squats done on the Smith machine are generally unsafe. This is because the body is prone to maneuver into awkward positions, since the barbell on the machine does not move. There is also a tendency to place the feet farther in front, which can then create additional stress on the knees and lower back. Rather than doing squats on the Smith machine, do them standing up while holding a dumbbell in each hand.

Floor and Weight-Bearing Exercises

Static Stretching

Static stretching is often performed in an effort to increase flexibility; however, there is little evidence to show this actually works. In fact, stretching cold muscles actually increases your risk of tearing them, and may also decrease muscle strength as well. If you plan to stretch before a workout, do at least two to three minutes of light movement ahead of time in order to avoid injury.

Abdominal Workouts

Abdominal workouts that are designed to “flatten” the stomach are ineffective for a number of reasons. Individual exercises cannot trim fat from your abdominals or waistline, as spot reduction in any one area is virtually impossible. Exercises such as crunches and sit-ups will strengthen abdominal muscles, but leave a layer of fat remaining on top of them. To get rid of this layer of fat, you’ll need to watch your caloric intake and engage in cardiovascular exercise in order to burn it off. Even then, you are unlikely to have the washboard abs you dream of, as the abdominals are actually intended to be slightly rounded rather than flat.

Mountain Climbers

This exercise is frequently recommended as a way to increase your cardiovascular fitness. The problem with it is the fact that is puts a great deal of street on the wrists and ankles, and also tends to promote bad posture. By incorporating mountain climbers into your workout, you could wind up with back, knee, or shoulder problems after time, and probably won’t see a great deal of improvement in your cardiovascular fitness level either.

Triceps Kickbacks/Overhead Arm Extensions

Both of these exercises are often done in an effort to eliminate jiggly upper arms. They are both ineffective because they tend to place too much stress on the upper back and shoulders. A better option would be dips or incline pushups, so long as you use good form and stop if you feel any tension in the shoulders whatsoever.

Superman

The Superman exercise is performed by lying on your stomach with your hands and arms outstretched in front of you, and then simultaneously lifting both your arms and legs off of the floor. This places a tremendous strain on the back muscles, and also promotes poor posture. Thought of as a core-strengthening exercise, a better alternative would be stability ball crunches or the Pilates hundred.

“Wearable” Workouts

Electro-Shock Ab Belts

Electro-shock ab belts profess to give you a “workout” for your abdominals without your having to do any exercise whatsoever. They operate by performing a light shock to abdominal muscles while you are wearing the belt, claiming that this will help to flatten and tone your stomach. There is no evidence that shows them to be effective, and in fact, this belt could even cause injury. The Food and Drug Administration has received complaints ranging from mild bruising to burns from consumers who have used one of these devices, and some people claim that it also interferes with medical devices such as pacemakers.

Toning Shoes

Toning shoes promise you better legs and glutes simply because they are designed to naturally make these muscles work harder. These shoes are actually dangerous for people to wear because they create instability that could lead to falls while walking in them. They also place a great deal of stress on the ankles, and do not provide proper support for the feet. Users who have worn these shoes have reported a number of injuries including:

  • Changes in gait or posture
  • Dislocated joints
  • Lacerations
  • Bone fractures
  • Pulled muscles

When choosing a fitness routine, it’s important for you to know the advantages and disadvantages of each exercise in order to avoid wasting your time doing ones that are ineffective. In many cases, exercises can be easily modified to make them safe and effective. Always be cautious when considering exercises that make outlandish claims, as a fit and trim body will take quite a bit of time and effort to develop.

The Downsides of Cardio: Why Excessive Aerobic Exercise May Not be Beneficial

There is no question that some amount of cardio exercise is beneficial for your health. Decades of medical research has shown us that cardio exercise is helpful for reducing obesity and all the problems that come with it. Cardio exercise helps to tone muscles and can help to strengthen your bones and ligaments, benefits that will become more important as you get older. However, as with all good things there are certain downsides. Did you know that too much cardio exercise can cause serious health problems? Well, it can. Before you get too excited, no one is saying that that you should throw out your running shoes and spend your days on the couch; however, there are some risk factors to cardio. Before you start your regimen, you should consider the potential problems and work to minimize them.

  • Joint Damage and Other Orthopedic Injuries
    Any high impact activity presents a high risk of joint problems. Anything that involves running or jumping can result in injuries like plantar fasciitis, shin splints and hip bursitis. Even people who only do limited amounts of cardio face some risk of injury; an excessive amount of exercise elevates that risk. The knees and hips are the joints that are most vulnerable to injury, especially in aging individuals. Your best bet is to involve yourself in low impact activities that place little or no stress on the joints. Options for this include using an exercise cycle, an elliptical machine or swimming. However, even with those safer options you may still face the risk of health issues if you do too much; it is a good idea to limit your cardio time to no more than 45 minutes per day.
  • Heart Issues
    Yes, cardio exercise is beneficial to your heart but only if it is done in moderation. If you overdo it, you actually increase your risk of having a heart attack. Consider the fact that a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal showed that overdoing exercise can pose a threat to heart health. According to the study, more than an hour of daily exercise provides “diminishing returns” and can result in adverse cardiovascular effects.  Atrial fibrillation and enlargement of the heart are two potential side effects of excessive cardio exercise; atrial fibrillation is also known as an “irregular heartbeat” and is problem that increases an individual’s risk of stroke. Another study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress states that overly long sessions of exercise caused the risk of heart problems to be increased by a factor of seven.
  • Insomnia
    If you find yourself lacking in energy, cardio exercise is one way to change that. However, excessive cardio exercise can actually leave you with too much energy. A workout can raise your levels of adrenaline and leave you too amped up to go to sleep at night. This is especially so if you do your cardio later in the evenings. The solution to this is to arrange your schedule so that you do your workout in the mornings or earlier in the evenings. This allows you enough time to wind down before going to bed. Limiting the duration of your cardio exercise will also help with insomnia.
  • Increased Appetite
    An increase in your appetite can result from cardio exercise and may cause you to take in more calories. Eating more food is a side effect of cardio exercise for many people. The exertion causes their bodies to produce hormones that increase appetite with the net effect being that they start to consume more calories than they burn off. Their cardio exercise results in them gaining weight instead of losing it. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology shows that women who burned more calories than they consumed in a workout saw increased blood-concentrations of  energy regulating hormones. Those are the hormones that signal the body’s desire for food. In other words, their bodies were telling them to eat to recover the calories they just lost. These effects are not limited to women as some men also have increased appetites after a cardio workout.
  • Oxidative Stress
    This is when your body produces unstable molecules called free radicals; these molecules can damage your cells, which results in more of these free radicals being produced. Excessive exercise causes too much oxidative stress for your body to fight. The result of all this is that you develop an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. It is important to note that pretty much every type of exercise causes some amount of oxidative stress, and researchers think that some amount of it is necessary, just not too much. Moderate amounts of oxidative stress actually help to make your body stronger.
  • Elevated Levels of Cortisol
    More than an hour or so of cardio exercise can stimulate the release of a hormone called “cortisol,” otherwise called the “stress hormone.” The purpose of this hormone is to change your metabolism in a way that enables you to better deal with stress. It provides you with increased energy for “fight or flight.” In the right amounts, cortisol can have health benefits in the form of muscle growth and improved heart health. The problem with excessive cardio exercise is that it can cause the hormone to accumulate in your system. Prolonged stress and high cortisol levels result in fat being retained and muscles being broken down. Elevated cortisol levels have been shown to result in the gain and retention of belly fat. Additionally, your immune system may be made weaker by higher levels of the hormone.
  • Reproductive Problems
    One study in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology showed that oxidative stress from excessive cardio exercise has negative effects on the male reproductive system. After four weeks of excessive strenuous cardio exercise, researchers found a decrease in the size of reproductive organs of men participating in the study; this was accompanied by reduced levels of testosterone. A similar study using rats found oxidative stress and sexual dysfunction.

None of this should be taken as a criticism of exercising. You need to exercise. Moreover, even with all of the health risks, the fact remains that people who do some cardio exercise are better off than people who do none. However, how much they do has a significant effect on how much benefit they get from it.

Age is a major factor in how your body handles cardio exercise and the issues it can cause. Older individuals should be particularly careful as bodies are not as resilient past a certain age; if you are over 40, you may face a longer recovery period when compared to someone in their 20s.

Unexpected Benefits of Exercising and Becoming Fit

While most of us have heard that exercising more helps you to lose weight and lessen the risk of diabetes and heart disease, you might be surprised at the overlooked benefits of exercise and being fit.  Recent studies have indicated that regular exercise improves your mental health, your physical beauty, and your relationships.

How Exercise Improves Brain Power and Mental Health

When you exercise, you experience an increased blood flow your brain, which helps you concentrate better. If you feel sluggish, often taking a brisk walk is better than reaching for another cup of coffee or glass of pop. Besides offering an immediate release, exercise offers several other mental and cognitive benefits that we don’t often think of.

  • Simply put, exercise makes you smarter. Even in young children, just running around or jumping rope helps with memory games and passing exams. So find that young child in you and challenge a friend to a race because running sprints is known to help with memory and vocabulary retention in adults too.  In particular, cardio work-outs can lead to neurogenesis, the creation of more brain cells. If you do an extremely hard work-out on the treadmill, it will increase your BDNF levels, assisting with better decisions and cognitive reasoning.
  • Exercise makes you happy. It releases endorphins, which make you feel almost euphorically happy. Often, doctors recommend that you work out for 30 minutes at least three times a week to ward off depression and anxiety. Think of your “work-outs,” as your “happy pills.” Try to work-out outside whenever possible so you have access to the mood-boosting Vitamin D and sunshine.
  • Exercising regularly reduces your stress levels. After a long day at work, engage in a cardio work-out for at least a half hour. Raising your heart rate and getting sweaty increases your norepinephrine levels and regulate your brain’s reaction to stress. In fact, if you do a vigorous 45-minute work-out on the elliptical or the treadmill three days in the row, you may slow down the aging process, and who doesn’t want that.
  • Working out helps your creative process and your work productivity. While you may feel exhausted after an hour-long aerobics class or a 7-mile run, make good use of it. Studies have shown that inspiration and creativity is heightened for up to two hours after your work-out. Taking your run through a scenic trail in a park will help the process even more. In addition, if you’re feeling uninspired at the office, try fitting in a work-out on your lunch hour, such as walking nearby or even hitting the gym. You’ll return with more energy ready to tackle the rest of the day.

Exercise and a Healthy Lifestyle Improves Your Beauty Habits

Exercising regularly not only sharpens your brain power, but enhances your natural beauty and gives you better skin and better eyes. It also helps you get more restful sleep.

  • Technically, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and many dead skin cells are sloughed off daily. In order to replenish them, you need proper nutrients, lots of water, and a healthy exercise program. Sweating gives your skin a healthy glow, and seeing tight skin over muscle looks really appealing too.
  • You can lower your risk of developing glaucoma by 25 percent by participating in moderate exercise. You’ll find you’ll reap these benefits even 15 to 20 years later so exercise as much as possible while you can.
  • Working out for around 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week leads to more restful nights. In fact, scientific research states that a vigorous work done at least five or six hours before bedtime often will help you sleep better than medication.

Exercise Improves Both Social Relationships and Your Sex Life

As you find more motivation and self-confidence, you’ll notice you’re happier and that you have healthier relationships at both work and home. In addition, due to your new confidence as well as your toned body and flexibility, you’ll find that you’re enjoying a more active sex life.

  • Exercising helps you make good first impressions, which is key in forming relationships, be it at a job interview, a first date, or meeting your future in-laws. This is partly because exercising releases chemicals to relax you, and partly because you’re more likely to feel confident if you’ve lost weight or toned up from exercising.
  • This new confidence and happiness also helps you in your current relationships as others will notice your new determination as well as your body, and not your negative approach to unrealistic goals.
  • Exercising regularly can improve your sex life. According to numerous studies, exercising vigorously by jogging two miles and burning around 200 calories lowers your risk of having issues with erectile dysfunction. Women also benefited from exercise partly because you often want to more because you feel prettier, but from being toned and more flexible from all those yoga classes, you can try different techniques and spice up your love life.

Exercise Has Surprising Health Benefits

Besides helping you reach your weight loss goal and prevent high-risk diseases, exercise helps with daily health occurrences and annoyances and prolongs your life expectancy.

  • Exercise reduces your cravings. So the next time you’re craving that giant homemade chocolate chip cookie, try working out on the treadmill for an hour instead. It causes your blood flow to concentrate on your muscles instead of your hunger pains, in turn lessening the pleasure response of food. In addition, exercise strengthens your abdominal muscles and helps you digest food better in your intestinal tract, without feeling sluggish.
  • Aerobic exercise helps in preventing migraines or lessening the strength of the headache. Combined with relation therapy, you may experience similar benefits to prescription drugs. Just be careful not to do any vigorous exercise during a migraine attack, or you could make it worse.
  • Even exercising for 15 minutes a day could add three more years to your life. Therefore, join a fun dance class or meet a friend for a game of basketball or a brisk walk to make it more fun.

With all these unexpected benefits to exercising and a healthier lifestyle, is it time to follow through on your New Year’s resolution to actually use the gym membership you bought months ago?