Saturday, January 14, 2006

$211 spent on "the neck up"

A quick reminder that the winter walking club begins this Saturday at 7:00am at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church.

I found a statistic for you to think about and remember. In 1990, in 12 states defined as the midwest, women spent an average of $211 per month on appearance from the neck up.

From the neck up...meaning haircuts, make-up, skin care. And this doesn't even include tanning, shaving, manicures and pedicures. And this was 1990 -- pre Botox, Collagen-fillers, microdermabrasion, peel-your-face-off procedures, etc.

I'm sharing this statistic so that you can feel even better about your investment in fitness. I consistently answer emails about the time and costs associated with classes and fitness training.

Hence I've been motivated to create Angela's top ten reasons for women to exercise. And not one of them relates to fitting into a smaller size. (There's several information-loaded links in here, so refer back to this if you don't have time to look at them all now.) With apologies to David Letterman, here we go:

10. Helps avoid some nasty diseases like stroke and cancer.

9. Regular exercise leads to increased bone mineral density, which leads to increased independence later in life.

8. No exercise = overweight.
Overweight eventually = obesity.
Obesity eventually = hypertention, coronary artery disease and diabetes.*
No thank you.

# 7, 6, 5 & 4 are my favorites -- the brain-based benefits. Some, such as better self-esteem, come as an indirect result of exercise and are fairly subjective. Others are a direct consequence of chemical activity triggered by physical exertion. It's sort of like releasing a make-your-own, legal drug.

7. Endorphins -- there are 22 different endorphins, and these amazing guys can reduce pain and stimulate feelings of euphoria (sign me up!)

6. Norepinephrine -- released in the brain to enhance attention and focus and control impulsivity . Yes, exercise can actually keep you from buying Oreos when you're at the grocery store later.

5. Serotonin -- released during exercise, the ultimate "good mood" juice.

4. Dopamine -- affects the central nervous system, brain efficiency and coordination.

3. Exercise decreases appetite. And I promised no weight management stuff in this list, but decreasing your appetite will help you avoid sugar, fats and alcohol, which, for a variety of reasons, just make you feel crummy.

2. Small group personal training, or specialized classes, can make expert instruction affordable.
And if I exercise correctly, I'll always be able to move.
What? Injuries to the low back occur from such seemingly simple tasks as bending over to pick something off the floor. How? Research now shows that nominal daily tasks, as well as strenuous bodily exertions, may result in a spine ‘buckling’ (McGill, 2001). Computerized analysis of this phenomenon suggests that there is a momentary reduction in neural activation to one or more of the deep intervetebral muscles, resulting in this spinal segmental ‘buckling’ (slight rotation of a spinal segment), leading to tissue irritation or injury. Therefore, the musculature must be trained to “stiffen the spine against buckling” (McGill, 2000). In other words...get on the ball girls! It'll keep you from throwing your back out someday. Love the study in this link, because it emphasizes that not just any exercise will do this for you. But you are not to worry, the core strength exercises included in Equilibrium and Yoga Happy Hour do strengthen the big muscles in your torso but also the multifidus (between the vertebrae) and intercostals (between the ribs).

1. According to "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me" (which I love!), the three dollar mascara is every bit as good as the $35 mascara, netting you $30 from the eyelashes alone to take an exercise class. You'll get to sweat (and hopefully laugh) and give better butterfly kisses straight from a healthier heart.