A Marvelous Monday, Month Long Series, On Fitness Health and Nutrition, every Monday in the month of June

Week 1 Physical Fitness “Exercise is Medicine”

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Health and fitness is a huge industry.  Look at all the fitness possibilities available today.  You can choose from a large scale health club, associated with a hospital, a reasonably priced chain like Planet Fitness, an upscale gym in a big city like Equinox or a fancy boutique like Soul Cycle where instructors are referred to as models and look like one. If you want to workout at home, setting up your won gym with a high price Peloton or you could outfit a gym with used equipment found on Facebook Marketplace.  If you want a personal trainer or do virtual workouts there are subscriptions to free You Tube videos.  Even the fitness attire industry has grown as the options of fitness have grown.  From upscale Vuori & Lululemon to Walmart you can find what you want at your price point and even second hand on Poshmark.  Yet, even with all this available, as well as a variety of activities to perk your interest from cycling to dance fitness to kickboxing to rowing to tennis, pickleball and this is just a starting place, obesity is a national epidemic. As of fall of 2023, 22 states have an obesity rate of 35% or higher, according the the U.S. Center for Disease Control.  Wow!  that’s high!  What’s sad is that the resources are there it’s easier than ever and the benefits of exercise are numerous.

     According to the Mayo Clinic, here are the benefits of physical exercise:

      1. Exercise controls weight

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Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help you keep off lost weight. When you take part in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.

Regular trips to the gym are great, but don't worry if you can't find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. Any amount of activity is better than none. To gain the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.

2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

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Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight is, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which lowers your risk of heart and blood vessel, called cardiovascular, diseases.

Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including:


Metabolic syndrome.

High blood pressure.

Type 2 diabetes.



Many types of cancer.



It also can help improve cognitive function and helps lower the risk of death from all causes.

3. Exercise improves mood

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Need an emotional lift? Or need to lower stress after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk walk can help. Physical activity stimulates many brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.

You also may feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

4. Exercise boosts energy

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Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise sends oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep

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Struggling to snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep and deepen your sleep. Just don't exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to go to sleep.

6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life

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Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and give you more confidence about your physical appearance, which may boost your sex life.

But there's even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise.

7. Exercise can be fun — and social!

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Exercise and physical activity can be fun. They give you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply do activities that make you happy. Physical activity also can help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. Bored? Try something new, or do something with friends or family. Exercise to feel better and have fun.

Exercise and physical activity are great ways to feel better, boost your health and have fun. For most healthy adults, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:

Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity. Or get at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. You also can get an equal combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Aim to spread out this exercise over a few days or more in a week.

For even more health benefits, the guidelines suggest getting 300 minutes a week or more of moderate aerobic activity. Exercising this much may help with weight loss or keeping off lost weight. But even small amounts of physical activity can be helpful. Being active for short periods of time during the day can add up and have health benefits.

Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. One set of each exercise is enough for health and fitness benefits. Use a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn.

Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running, swimming laps, heavy yard work and aerobic dancing.

You can do strength training by using weight machines or free weights, your own body weight, heavy bags, or resistance bands. You also can use resistance paddles in the water or do activities such as rock climbing.

If you want to lose weight, keep off lost weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more.

Remember to check with a health care professional before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any concerns about your fitness or haven't exercised for a long time. Also check with a health care professional if you have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis. -

-The Mayo Clinic

Sometimes, all it takes is getting going.  Find your activity that works for you or a variety of activities that round out your workout week, where you want to do it and get going.  Look for activities that appeal to you.  If you are not a fan of running, don’t run.  Like I mentioned earlier, there are so many activities to choose from everyone should be able to find an activity that appeals to them.  Include some weight training in that equation and some type of stretching, in terms of yoga, Pilates or just a good stretching routine.  If you need inspiration, look for good role models.  I tend to look at my instructors to inspire me or people in the industry who are mostly near my age, but sometimes not.  What these people do for me is I look at them in class, read their books or watch them and say, “If they can do it, I can do it.”  My regular instructors inspire me to get going and to work hard.  I have my favorites and attend their classes regularly.  They know they do this for me, as I let them know by complementing them, letting them know how they inspire me.  Sometime it’s their music, a key phrase or a new piece of information or concept.  These professionals keep me going as a participant and further my knowledge and skills as an instructor myself. Thank you Jennifer, Janet, Alison, Alicia, Malori, Ranim, and Romina for “Bringing It” to me and all of your participants.  

     My weekly workouts are made up mostly of dance classes, usually about 4 per week, body combat/at least once per week, a body pump/weight training  once a week and 1-2  “3 in “ 1”/barre/ all over body workout, which includes cardio, weights and core/stretching. This is what works for me. 

     Realistic goals are important.  Five days a week is my goal.  Most weeks, I more than hit the mark, with an additional walk or bike ride.  It’s easy for me because this has been part of my life since early on.  Once fitness become part of your routine and you find activities you like, for me, it’s almost as if my body craves it, and I find that if I have a day where I don’t move in one way or another, I miss it.  

     Now we know there are absolutely no guarantees in life.  Most of us know at least one person who did everything right, they worked out, did things in moderation, only to have contracted cancer or have something out of the ordinary strike them down.  I like playing the odds and ask often in life, “What’s going to give me the greatest odds” of success  when it comes to most things, whether it is health, safety or making decisions and that’s how I operate.  Being active, with all its benefits is how I choose to go through life, giving the best chances for as many Great Days as possible…Get moving or start devising your ideal fitness week.

Author & Fitness Instructor, Mary Yana Burau

-Next Monday, how food fits in to a healthy life style.