Exercise is a vital part of health for everyone, young and old. After all, the human body is designed for exertion, a holdover from the caveman days when early humans would run all day to hunt game on the African plains. This contrasts with the sedentary, tree-bound lifestyle of our closest primate relatives such as chimpanzees and gorillas. We are the primates that move, and since no one is running to hunt game in the 21st century, we need different exercise outlets. Fortunately, we have all kinds of options. Playing amateur sports is a great way to get some cardio, build muscle, burn fat, and have a good time. In fact, soccer teams are often the best way to teach sportsmanship and teamwork to kids. Meanwhile, a person can get weights to lift or visit a gym, and they can go jogging, running, swimming, and hiking, and take martial arts classes. Most of these activities call for certain fitness equipment, which can be found at fitness stores and sports stores across the nation.
The Benefits of Exercise
First, the bad news: many Americans fall short of general exercise level guidelines, such as those set by the American Heart Association. Many children are also falling short of those quotas, and not getting enough exertion per week. Many adults today are also overweight or obese, resulting from both a lack of exercise and eating fast food. This leads to many health problems ranging from heart disease to diabetes, strain on the ankles and knees, and mood and sleep disorders.
Fortunately, anyone can change their diet, and any able-bodied person can get exercise. Even Americans with physical handicaps can figure out specialized workout regimens so they aren’t left out. Exercise will not only develop muscle and burn calories to maintain healthy weight, but it also improves the person’s mood and can help them sleep better and regulate their mood, too. They call it the “runner’s high” for a reason, and the human body has all sorts of ways to reward exercise and punish sedentary behavior. Most jobs today are either automated or involve paperwork rather than physical work, so Americans can join amateur sports teams, take martial arts classes, and go jogging or bike riding to meet those exercise quotas and feel great. Besides, these exercise regimens don’t have to be a slog; they are often great fun, especially when they become routine and the person builds up some momentum. Soon, they won’t even want to quit working out.
Suppose a person wants to get fit and exercise more than ever. That’s excellent. But it takes some prep, with safety coming first. Before a person makes major changes to their diet or exercise habits, they should consult their doctor and get some ideas and guidelines, so their new routine can be safe and effective. This is especially true for Americans with particular health needs, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, a heart condition, or a bad back. In general, a good diet will mean cutting out fast food and processed food and eating wholesome and organic foods across the food pyramid, from whole grains to dairy, lean meat (chicken, fish), and all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Vegetarian and vegan diets exist, too.
Now for sports stores. These fitness stores are stocked with just about anything a customer will need regardless of their age or intended exercise levels. When visiting a local sports store, the customer can consult the staff for recommendations, to help them figure out what they need. A sports store may stock DVDs, for example, for guided exercise workouts that can be done in the comfort of the living room or even a backyard. Also, sports stores may be stocked with sets of dumbbells to lift, jump ropes, medicine balls, cushioned mats, and of course, clothes for working out. Workout clothes include tough and grip-friendly shoes, sweatbands, and light clothes such as shirts and shorts that breathe well. These are comfortable, affordable (prices vary), and help prevent overheating.
As for sports, a sports store may have baseball bats, balls, and gloves, not to mention soccer balls, tubes of tennis balls and the racquets, and bicycle parts, too. Specialized running shoes are a great idea for regular runs or jogging.