By Chris Pregony
What if I told you that you could improve nearly every aspect of your life in just 30 minutes every day? Some people may be intrigued, while others are lost at the every day part. Know this, we were made to move. The multitude of medical issues that plague humankind in this modern era comes mostly from the lack of movement. We all know that the gym can be an intimidating place, a place where people who are already in shape tend to go. This leaves the mass majority of people feeling hopeless when it comes to exercise. One of the most simple and effective ways you can exercise is to work the cardiovascular system. Running, walking, biking, swimming, or just about any form of movement that elevates the heart rate can have innumerable benefits to your body as well as your mind.
WHAT CAN IT DO FOR ME?
In a nutshell, cardiovascular exercise works your heart and lungs. Chronic adaptations can be seen in as little as three weeks! Your heart will become more efficient. This means that it will pump more blood with less effort. In just a few short weeks of training, your blood pressure will be reduced.
Your body will start to increase its lipid metabolism, this means that it will get better at using fat as a fuel source. Insulin levels are better maintained, reducing the chance of Type II diabetes. All of this just by getting out and walking! To get the benefits of cardiovascular activity you don’t need to push yourself to your limits, just a brisk walk can elicit many of the aforementioned benefits.
With all the wonderful things that cardio can do for you physiologically, we tend to forget what it can do for your mind. Cardio has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. It can elevate mood as well as improve self-worth. Activities such as running or biking can be extremely social. Once you feel comfortable with running or biking you should sign up for a race or join a group. In a book called “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger, he says that humans have three basic needs. They need to feel competent in what they do, authentic in their lives and feel connected to others. Joining a running or biking group can knock out all three of these needs and contribute to a sense of belonging and camaraderie that many of us neglect.
WHERE DO I START?
Get outside! As I mentioned earlier, we were meant to move. We were also meant to be outside. Many of us spend most of our lives indoors. It’s amazing what just 30 minutes outside can do to our mental state. Start small; get out and walk for 10 minutes. Gradually increase your time and distance. For me, I really enjoy biking, trail biking in particular. Most of my rides all start out the same way. I start with about 1 million things on my mind. Within 30 minutes, I cut it down to about 10 things. I keep riding until the only thing I can think about is what I am doing in that moment. That’s how I know I have had a successful ride. All the trials and tribulations of life melt away and I am left with nothing but the next breath. This does so much for my mental state. It makes me a better husband, father, employee and person in general.
It all starts with taking that first step toward being the best version of yourself. So, lets get moving and use our bodies they way they were meant to be!