Live Science is bringing our readers a monthly series on personal health goals, with tips and tricks we've gathered from the many health experts we've interviewed. Each month, we'll focus on a different goal, and the goal for March is Exercise. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to connect with other readers who are working toward these goals.
So many of us have the same relationship with exercise: We know it's good for us, and we're proud of ourselves when we do it — it makes us feel good. But somehow, it's still difficult to feel motivated to work out, so we don't get moving as much as we'd like.
Yet it's impossible not to notice that there are people who succeed, who manage to stand up and truly adopt a lifestyle that includes regular exercise, even while others among us fail, falling back down onto our couches.
To help your story become one of success in 2017, Live Science has pulled together the best studies and expert advice about exercise.
The health benefits of exercise abound. Exercise holds benefits for the human body's tiniest components — such as the mitochondria in your cells — to the biggest facets of your life, such as how long you'll live. If you need motivation to get started, here is a look at some of the most interesting findings on the health benefits of exercise.
- Exercise Boosts Life Expectancy, Study Finds
- After-Meal Exercise May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
- Get Off the Couch! Even Light Exercise Has Health Benefits
- Good Diet, Exercise Keep Brain Healthy
- 7 Cancers You Can Ward Off with Exercise
- Exercise Helps You Sleep Better
How to Get Started
The biggest hurdle to working out is often a lack of motivation to get started. But scientists have found that there are ways to start up an exercise routine, and set expectations for yourself, that may increase your chances of making a lifestyle change.
- Our definitive guide: How to Start an Exercise Routine and Stick to It
Infographic: How to Start Exercising in 5 Easy Steps
- Found: Trick for Getting into an Exercise Routine
- Move It! How to Exercise When You're Depressed
- Dread the Gym? Exercise with Friends Puts People in a Better Mood
7 Exercise Excuses: How to Avoid Them and Get Moving
Types of Exercise
You might think of exercise as being the same as cardio. But cardio, or aerobic exercise, is just one of the four main types of exercise that experts recommend doing. Here is a look at the different types of exercise, and what you can gain from doing each one.
- Our definitive guide: The 4 Types of Exercise You Need to Be Healthy
- Balance Exercise: Everything You Need to Know
- Strength Exercise: Everything You Need to Know
- Flexibility Exercise: Everything You Need to Know
- Aerobic Exercise: Everything You Need to Know
For How Long Do You Need to Exercise?
Government guidelines recommend that people spend 150 minutes a week doing moderate-intensity exercise. But if you do more intense activity, like running, these guidelines recommend spending 75 minutes per week exercising.
But few topics seem more debated than how much exercise is enough. From the myriad studies on exercise, a general rule seems to have emerged: Some is better than none, and more is generally better than less (until the "more" becomes extreme). Indeed, evidence from scientific studies has shown that people's health improves even with minor amounts of exercise. Still, if your goal is to lose weight or maintain weight loss, incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle helps greatly.
- How to Do the 7-Minute Workout
- Short Bouts of Exercise Benefit Health, Too
- No Excuses: Even 1-Minute Workouts Benefit Health
- Does Housework Count As Exercise?
- Shorter, More Intense Workouts May Be Healthier
- Can't Exercise for 30 Minutes Today? Any Activity Is Better Than None
- 7 Common Exercise Errors — And How to Fix Them
- Want to Live Longer? Optimal Amount of Exercise Revealed
What to Eat When You're Working Out
For many people, exercise goals go hand in hand with broader objectives to work toward a healthier lifestyle or lose weight. Experts say that typically, people who start exercising don't need to increase their calorie intake. Rather, exercisers simply need to try to eat a well-rounded, healthy diet, and avoid processed and junk food. Here's the science:
Our definitive guide: Fitness Nutrition: What Science Says About Diet and Exercise
- Workout Calorie Math: Here's How to Eat to Fuel a WorkoutMore Info:
- Eating After Workouts: The Science of Timing Meals and Exercise
- What — and When — to Eat to Build Muscle
- Could Working Out Before Breakfast Help You Lose Weight?
Gear for Your Workout
Let's face it: Many of us like to record our accomplishments. And when it comes to exercising, there's something very satisfying about keeping track of when we worked out, and how far and fast we went. And that's a good thing: Experts say that tracking your exercise can be motivating. Moreover, today's gadgets offer many ways to track aspects of your workout routine. Here are some of our favorites:
- The Best Health and Fitness Apps
- Best Running Apps
- Best Yoga Apps
- Best Pedometer Apps
- The Best Heart Rate Monitor Apps
- Reviews from our sister site Tom's Guide: Best Fitness Trackers 2016
- Reviews from our sister site Tom's Guide: Best GPS Watch 2016
- Fitness & Big Data: How Wearable Tech Is Changing Exercise Research
- New Heart Rate Trackers: Is Knowing Your Pulse Useful?
- Is the Apple Watch a Good Health and Fitness Tracker?
Originally published on Live Science.
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