Nature’s Remedial Agencies – Exercise
“God designed that the living machinery should be in daily activity; for in this activity or motion is its preserving power.”
Healthful Living, 131
“Each organ and muscle has its work to do in the living organism. Every wheel in the machinery must be a living, active, working wheel. Nature’s fine and wonderful works need to be kept in active motion in order to accomplish the object for which they were designed.”
My Life Today, 130
Daily Regimen and Determining Your Needs
The American College of Sports Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACSM-CDC), and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) have updated the general guideline for how much to exercise daily:
- Preschool-aged children (3-5 years) — at least three hours daily of light to vigorous, active play for growth enhancement and development.
- Youth (6-17 years) — one hour daily of moderate to vigorous activity to increase muscle and bone strength.
- Younger and older adults alike (18-65 years) — at least 30 minutes of moderate, aerobic activity five days per week, vigorous activity for at least 20 minutes, three days per week, or a combination of both is favorable. Additionally, muscle-strengthening activity is recommended at least two times per week to further increase muscular strength and endurance.
Previously, it was believed that if one exercised for less than 20 minutes, it would be of no lasting value. It has been found that exercise even in 10-minute increments can be of benefit to health.
Whether your goal is weight loss, obtaining a particular goal, or maintenance, daily exercise needs are best assessed on an individual basis. Age, current inactivity level, medications, health conditions, disabilities, and pregnancy should be considered, and seeking the counsel of a physician is preferable.
Health Benefits of Exercise
“Exercise equalizes the circulation, vitalizes the blood, helps the body expel impurities, improves the body’s tone, aids digestion, relieves nervousness, prevents disease, improves the function of the kidneys and liver, keeps the lungs in good condition, and tones up the muscles. Exercise is one of nature’s best remedies. There are very few maladies that will not respond favorably to exercise.” Jack Kendall
As we now know, even small increments of exercise can be beneficial. However, the ODPHP also encourages increasingly more frequent movement throughout the day, working toward meeting the guidelines above. Meeting the guidelines includes both immediate and long-term benefits.
Decreased anxiety and blood pressure while improving sleep quality and insulin sensitivity are immediate benefits.
Long-term benefits include improved cognition, bone health, fitness, and heart health; lower risk of anxiety and depression; reduced risk of eight types of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, stomach, and lung); lowered risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes; improved immune system; lowered risk of obesity; improved physical function, and quality of life. In older adults regular exercise can reduce the risk of falling and fall-related injuries. Exercise can also reduce the risk of postpartum depression, strengthen abdominal muscles, and improve energy and sleep during pregnancy.
In pre-existing conditions such as osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, exercise significantly reduces symptoms and disease progression, and improves cognition for those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.
Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle and a Simple Start
“Fresh air, exercise, pure water, and clean, sweet premises, are within the reach of all, with but little expense; but drugs are expensive, both in the outlay of means, and the effect produced upon the system.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 301
It is no surprise that a sedentary lifestyle hastens illness, disease, and death; the more sedentary, the higher the risks are. Fitness centers may not always be accessible, affordable, or easily included in a tightly scheduled day. However, there are several notably convenient ways to exercise that are quite interesting and enjoyable. Whether inactive or active, there are exercises that can benefit your mind and body simply with the use of a broom or mop.
Sweeping and mopping are chores that are done practically on a daily basis. Monotonous chores can easily be made more enjoyable with variety and spark more enthusiasm when realizing how simple it is to obtain health benefits from them. Sweeping and mopping burn calories, maintain a healthy weight, reduce belly fat, are therapeutic, lower stress and anger levels, and prevent infections and allergies.
There are five common exercises that can be done using the broom or a mop while engaging in your regular housekeeping duties anytime and anywhere. Be sure to alternate the end of the broom or mop, as this will balance resistance on each side of the body throughout the exercise routine. Also, adjust the speed and number of repetitions at your own convenience and remember, have fun!
Overhead Wide Grip Squats
Hold the broom flat with hands gripped close to each end, keeping arms straight and above the head. Place legs in a wide stance. Lower into a deep squat. Return to a standing position. Repeat.
Forward Lunges w/ Lateral Twist
Hold the broom flat with hands gripped close to the ends, extending arms forward at shoulder level. Lunge one foot forward, bending at the knee; keep the knee aligned over top of the toes. Place the other leg behind. Twist to the left. Twist to the right. Repeat.
Overhead Shoulder Press
Hold the broom flat with hands gripped shoulder-width apart. Place feet shoulder-width apart. Begin with the broom at the shoulder level and press forward, outward, and upward. Repeat.
Lie down on your back. Bend knees, keeping feet flat on the floor. Hold the broom flat with hands gripped at a comfortable width and over the top of the torso. Lift the head, neck, and shoulders upwards. Repeat.
Alternating Side Bend / Knee Touches
Place feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and slightly bend knees. Rest the broom behind the neck and on top of the shoulders. Hold the broom flat with a comfortable, wide grip. Simultaneously raise the right knee and side bend downward to the right; raising the knee upward to touch the broom stick. Then the left side. Repeat.
Care and Effort
Be encouraged! Whether initiating a simple start or finding new ways to enhance a current routine, everyday items and chores can be valuable in increasing health benefits and reaching goals. Also, bring to remembrance:
“The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their grey head.“ Proverbs 20:29
“She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.” Proverbs 31:17 [Emphasis supplied.]
Sources: Adapted from a pamphlet and online articles – ACMS – Staff, Health.gov – Staff, STL Exercise Pamphlet – Jack Kendall, Onlymyhealth – Chanchal Sentra, CEB Fitness & Wellness, LLC – Candace Brooks; www.acsm.org/education-resources/trending-topics-resources/physical-activity-guidelines; health.gov/current-guidelines/top 10 things to know; onlymyhealth.com/health benefits of sweeping and mopping the floor; cebfitness.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/5-exercises-you-can-do-with-a-mop-or-broom/