I am not someone who looks forward to exercise. I like the way I feel when I am done. I like the way my body responds when I push it a little. I like how strong I feel because I work out. I like knowing I am helping myself to stay healthy. But I hate the actual hard work that is exercise. Recently I read a few articles about the benefits of exercise and they were a good reminder that staying active is not optional if I want to have more energy, limit visits to the doctor, keep my skin looking younger and even help my brain stay healthy.
I think the biggest excuse I hear from people who do not find the time to exercise is exactly that, they don’t feel they have time. It is like what I wrote about last week, we all know that working out is good for us just like we know using our phones while driving is bad for us, but we do not want to change our habits. What if I told you there is a study that has been done that shows that exercising can make skin look 25 YEARS younger? Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky found that exercising produces a protein that helps strengthen and firm up skin, increasing collagen and circulation. It won’t magically erase wrinkles, but it will help skin look tighter and less saggy. The best part is it only requires moderate activity, so no need to sign up for a marathon (unless you want to) and if you have been relatively inactive, you can reverse some of the bad effects by starting an exercise program at any age.
Not enough to make you find the time yet? Real Simple Magazine put together an article that spelled out all the ways exercise can improve your life. They include relieving stress and depression, improving chronic health problems, maintaining a healthy weight, increasing your energy levels and reducing doctor visits. For anyone who has children, a demanding job or both, these are all good reasons to get to the gym or get outside. For anyone who wants to have a high quality of life well into the “golden” years, exercising will help get you there. It will keep your body functioning better as well as your brain.
To be clear, I am not talking about spending hours on an exercise program. Unless you are training for a major sporting event, there is no need to overdo the workouts. The important thing is to get in at least 150 minutes of cardio each week as well as a 2 or 3 days of strength training. You know your body and schedule better than anyone. Think about what you need to tell yourself to get motivated to find the time. As for me, I try to think of exercise as my time to treat myself, just like when I go for a pedicure or massage. I know it isn't as fun, but sometimes they are a good bribe! If I stick to a workout schedule I can reward myself with a trip to the spa!
True story: when I get in the shower after my workouts I can’t help belting out the song “I Feel Good” by James Brown. It really sums up how happy I am that I was active and that I am done!
This recipe is perfect for preparing ahead so you can take the time to workout rather than making dinner! It can be served slightly warm, at room temperature or right out of the fridge. I doubled the original recipe (because I had a one pound bag of spaghetti) and it was enough for two dinners and three lunches for the two of us.
Roasted Vegetables in Peanut Sauce
recipe from VeganGretchen
Vegetables and Pasta*:
1 bag whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to directions
1/2 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 cups Italian green beans, ends snipped and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 head Napa Cabbage, sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
4 green onions, sliced
large handful cilantro, minced
1/4 cup fresh mint, minced
1/2-2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
4 Tablespoons liquid aminos or tamari or soy sauce
1/2-2/3 cup water
3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
4 Tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce
3 tsp Sriracha, optional
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
*Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have or prefer. Cauliflower, any kind of fresh bean, peppers, zucchini, etc. would all be great. Or omit a vegetable and add more of another. You are looking to have a high ratio of vegetables to pasta. Also, you can use rice noodles or another long pasta such as linguini.
**Feel free to use more or less of any ingredient. I recommend adding less of everything and then tasting the sauce once it is processed. At that point you can add more of your preference. Remember, it is easy to add more, but impossible to take it out!