The body on exercise

Even the most lazy person knows that exercise is good for us. If it’s not our doctor telling us to move more it was our PI teacher at school, or our parents telling us to go outside instead of eyeing down the computer all day. Exercise is healthy. It makes it easier to manage our weight and we feel pretty good when we’re done. But do we know what exactly happens in our body when we exercise? And do we really know just how healthy it actually is? For being such a well know concept, I think we yet haven’t given it all the cred it actually deserves.

Different types of exercise

Cardiovascular/Aerobic

The beloved cardio. Some people hate it, some people love it.

Aerobic training, or cardio training is very important to us. If you’re circulating in the fitness community you’ve probably heard that “cardio is over hyped”, “you don’t need cardio to lose fat”, “strength training is all you need!”. They are not wrong, you don’t neeeed cardio to lose fat, but you do need cardio for like a million other things. Well, at least for about 4 really important things.

  • Heart and lung health. Cardio is your hearts favorite lover boy or girl, or nonbinary. We don’t discriminate any genders here. Cardio strengthens your heart and lungs. Why is this important you might ask? A strong heart and lungs increase our endurance, making your body better to absorb and pump around oxygen. If you didn’t know, oxygen is a pretty big deal.
  • Lower blood pressure and diabetes. When your heart becomes stronger it pumps around the blood much easier to lower blood pressure. Cardio is also a great way to burn of excess glucose in the blood, reducing the risk of developing diabetes, or in helping individuals with diabetes.
  • Fat burning. Cardio is not necessary for losing weight(calorie deficit is) but we can’t deny the fact that it does burn calories. Studies show that people who do frequent cardio have lower visceral fat – the dangerous “inner” fat which lays around your organs. Heard of the term “skinny fat”? Visceral fat is the one to blame. Even though both overweight and underweight people can suffer from visceral fat it’s more likely for a skinny person to ignore taking charge of their health since “they don’t look unhealthy”.
  • Mood booster: a bit of a sweat feast never hurt nobody, quite the opposite! Just 35 minutes of cardio three times a week can increase your mood by like, a lot. The optimal cardio recommendation is to get in 180 minutes of cardio every week. A brisk walk is just fine but try to challenge your heart a bit to keep that little guy happy.
Exercise

Strength training

Strength. I feel like we have two teams here. One team who is all about the gains, preaching for weights and weights only. Building muscles, getting in that protein to get that lean physic all the Instagram fitspo models have. Then we have the other team. The ones who are so afraid of lifting weights, afraid to get “too bulky”. The ones who spend hours a week doing cardio.

None of these teams are better than the other, they are staying active in their own way. But, they should definitely learn form each other. And for the cardio obsessed people out there – it’s time to lift up those weights! Strength training has so many benefits beyond achieving a bomb ass physic. As we grow older we lose our lean muscles tissue year by year. The only way to keep our muscles is to use them.

  • Bone health. that strong muscles make strong bones is the typical slogan, but it should be. Weight training doesn’t only increase muscle mass, but it also strengthens our bones reducing the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis. For females this is especially important, as we tend to lose bone density as we enter menopause. Not the hottest topic I know, but a very important one.
  • Increase metabolism. Lean muscles require more energy at rest which means that you get to eat more food to maintain your weight. As we build muscle our body starts burning fat more efficiently. This process continues even after you’ve had a good pump at the gym.
  • You don’t need a gym. Most people get the image of a buff bodybuilder throwing bricks in the air when we hear “strength training”. This is thankfully not the only way to build muscle. If you are afraid to lift super heavy right of the bat, I’m glad to inform you that body weight exercise is just as effective. The important thing to think about is resistance. You want to train until or close to failure to really challenge your muscle and break down the tissue.

Flexibility

Yet again we have two types of people. The ones who dedicate a solid 15 minutes to stretching after their workout and the ones who don’t stretch for shit. If you belong to the latter (myself included), it’s about time to add in at least 5 minutes of light stretching.

Daily stretching increase flexibility which reduce injury, muscle soreness and shortness, and improves blood circulation to your muscles. Stretching has also shown to improve vein health (hate, absolutely hate that word) which makes your blood flow easier throughout your cute little body.

Exercise

Balance

Pretty straight forward here. We know what balance is and it’s important to have a good sense of it to understand where you are in space. Kinda loopy and weird way to put it, but you get the point. Balance becomes more important as you grow older as it will minimize the risk of falls and injuries. Let’s be honest, a big part in taking care of yourself is to become that cool (and hot) grandma or grandpa who’s fresh as fudge.

Easy ways to improve balance is by having a strong lower body. Simple walking or taking the stairs are underrated ways to improve balance. Yoga is another great balance training which also improves your flexibility. Most gyms also have dedicated balance boards or pilates balls. If one thing is for sure it’s that a Pilates ball will make you question everything you know about balance…

The brain on exercise

Oh, our little mushy head lump, our brain. This weird incredible thing which controls our whole existence. Talk about a power trip. We mentioned that exercise boosts our mood, but how?

  • Dopamine kick. Why do we feel so great after a nice pump? It’s all about dopamine, baby! When we exercise we stimulate the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for hormone production. In the case of exercise, our hypothalamus goes cray cray on releasing the feel good hormone dopamine. Exercise is definitely one of the best happy kicks there is.
  • Brain cell growth and brain plasticity. Who knew that while working that junk in your trunk your are also supporting new brain cell growth? So don’t come here and tell me fit people aren’t smart! Exercise has this wonderful effect of pumping oxygen around our body, and this also includes the brain. More oxygen to the brain stimulates new cell growth and brain plasticity – forming new connections and neurons in our brain.
  • Reduce risk of disease and inflammation. As we age there’s unfortunately a higher risk of catching an “age related” disease such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Exercise might have the effect of battling these diseases as it improves the formation of new brain cells and plasticity. Besides this, exercise helps regulate other underlying factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Sex it up

Now let’s get into the saucy part which everyone loves – sex. Exercise will significantly improve your sex life. Not only does your stamina increase with regular exercise, but as a man you’re less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. And for us females exercise and specifically strength training makes the pelvic floor stronger leading to pretty sweet orgasms. Do I even need to give another reason to sweat it out?!

Exercise and sex

So, by now I hope I haven convinced you even more to why you should put on those training shoes and get a good sweat on. What matters in the long run is what you do consistently. It’s better to walk 10 minutes a day than doing nothing. What’s your reason for training more?

Sources

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/the-4-most-important-types-of-exercise

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/stretching-may-improve-blood-vessel-health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/easy-ways-to-improve-your-balance

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-exercise-affects-your-brain/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2019.00066/full

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-brain-plasticity-2794886

https://www.google.com/amp/s/qz.com/2018965/how-exercise-protects-the-brain-against-depression-and-anxiety/amp/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/312628

https://www.technologynetworks.com/neuroscience/articles/gray-matter-vs-white-matter-322973

Our daily habits build our reality.

I feel like shit today. Why? The past week has been all over the place. I’ve been off my normal routine. Haven’t been exercising as I usually do while eating foods that give me temporary satisfaction (sugar, fast food, not as much veggies) but make me feel like poop. Waking up today I felt bloated, gross, and not like myself. Besides feeling heavy in my body the biggest reason for my shitty start was how I felt mentally. Negative thoughts, self doubt, no motivation, anxiety, yea you know the drill. This made me think about how our daily habits builds our reality and how taking care of your body is the foundation of building a healthy and successful life – no matter your goals.

Feeling bad is normal.

I feel pretty lucky that I’ve been introduced to this healthy lifestyle early in life. I only have my moms health magazines and my curiosity to thank for that. Over the years I’ve been exercising and eating healthy food consistently to the point where it has become a standard practice in my life. It’s my normal. I need to take care of myself to be a functional human being in society. Because of this, I also feel when I’m off routine. Unfortunately, the majority of people in the western world do not live like this. Stomach issues, mental problems, tiredness, low mood (to name a few problems) have become such a reoccurring thing in society that we look at it as “normal”. I’m here to tell you that this shit ain’t!

Laziness is easy.

Do you know what I think is funny? A lot of things obviously, I’m a woman of humor, but how the medical industry is so focused on prescriptions and medicine more than nutrition and exercise. Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are a direct result of highly processed food and lack of movement.

Let’s say you have a stomach issue, aight? You hit up the doctor and the first thing he gives you is some kind of prescription when you actually just need to check your diet, get some more sleep, and start exercising. See the point? Nobody prescribes a better diet and exercise. Other examples of this is all the crappy foods we are sold daily through advertising, how easy it is to order food delivery straight up to your home, or how you can just slide on a scooter to get around. Realizing I sound like Mrs Grumpysoon, but please don’t get me wrong. These things are amazing! But they also mean that we need to put more effort into our daily habits.

Daily habits build our reality

Why you should put yourself first.

Times are changing. This is your kick in the butt to take charge of your health and your life. Not a fan of cheese? I’m sorry because we are about to drop some cheesy cliches here. “You can’t take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself first.”, “Self-care isn’t selfish”. Bom! Mic drop. Linnéa out. I know you’ve heard of this. Probably too many times, but that only means that it’s legit. Putting your health first will only make you a better person in all your life roles. Parent? You’ll become the best parent there is. CEO? You’ll run your business like the improved version of Jeff Bezos. Bottom line, your body is the machine you will need throughout life to do everything you want so you better take care of it.

Your good habits starts now.

We are not Drake and we can’t go from 0 to 100 real quick when it comes to building new habits.What you can do right now is to drink some water, add some more vegetables to your meal. Maybe cook home instead of ordering that Foodora delivery tonight? Take an evening walk and go to sleep at a reasonable hour? If you’re really looking for a change feel free to slide in my email and I will personally help you getting started.

As for me an my shitty start don’t worry. My home-cooked meal is screaming my name and I did a pretty good workout this morning. Getting back to routine never felt so good.

Survive winter depression

It’s about that time. Darkness is arriving upon us. At least here in Sweden we are turning back our clock this weekend (last night actually!) which means that the darker days are getting longer. When did winter get here again already?! Where has the year gone?

Besides autumn and winter being the cozy months, hence the “cuffing” season a lot of us can sometimes feel a bit beaten down by the dark and cold. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been through it, it still feels a bit meeh when the sun sets at 3 pm in the afternoon…

Get your nutrients

It’s always important to make sure you get all the nutrients you need and when the sun checks out, it’s even more important to get the whole alphabet of nutrients to keep our energy up and running. Between all the cozy “Fika” breaks (a Swedish word for coffee and cake break) in the autumn dark, make sure to get in all your fruit and veggies.

Vitamin D

While snacking on all your fruit and veggies are great, there’s one sneaky nutrient that are harder to get enough of during the winter months, no matter what “diet” your on (vegan, meat eater, flexitarian, you name it), and that’s our beloved vitamin D. The hot girl summer isn’t the only thing that disappears as soon as the sun rotates away from us, but so does the vitamin D. When we lack D vitamin we are more prone to getting tired and feeling anxious and depressed.

Exercise and take a walk on the wild side

Make sure to move your body regularly. If it’s just taking walks to get some fresh air and maybe a glimpse of sunlight during the day. It gives us both energy and lowers our stress levels to be better armed for the dark months ahead. Being outside is also a really great way to avoid the winter sniffles. Get that fresh air of nature circulate through your body instead of all the sick flu viruses that sometimes circulate inside your house. Speaking of avoiding sickness and fresh air, make sure you air out your house regularity. I know that it’s cold, but you need a fresh circulation to feel better and honestly, to make your house not smell like dying human.

Give in to the lazies

Don’t beat yourself up for feeling tired and lazy. It’s okay to go into hibernation mode once in a while when the darkness is creeping in. I mean what’s more cozy than sweaters, candles, and warm chocolate? It’s one of the winter charms! Spend time with people you love, read some nice books, and catch up movies. The best thing to “deal” with sad darkness is to embrace its qualities.

Turn the heat down

I know that it’s a big temptation to turn up the heat when the darkness and cold comes creeping in. But, to keep your home too warm actually makes you more tired, not to mention it’s a killer for your skin. I’m not saying that you should go around and freeze your ass off, but keep it cool and put on a sweater than to create a sauna in your home.