Lately I’m feeling like a broken record (or scratched CD) when I talk to my patients about the importance of exercise. I can’t figure out if people are just sick of hearing about it, they feel like they don’t have time, or if they just don’t want to exercise. I can definitely understand not having enough time. We all have busy lives.
Humans were not meant to sit at a computer all day. Just like most dogs that crave a daily walk and require an energy expenditure, humans need that also (even though we may ignore it). Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many options these days that include things like Zumba, Yoga, hiking, karate or martial arts, step aerobics, elliptical machines, water aerobics, basketball leagues, soccer clubs, rowing, wall/rock climbing, tennis, Moms with strollers clubs, racquetball, ballroom dancing, cycling, spinning, cardio dancing, and games on the Wii for exercise. Do any of these sound interesting? Most of these are available at your local YMCA, club, or recreation center.
If you value your health, you’ll consider adding exercise to your life. For all of you that already accomplish this daily task, I send you a huge cyber high five and hug. You’re awesome for even reading this article. For those of you that need to add this to your life, I just offer one last word of advice: Don’t take your health for granted!
In case you haven’t heard, here’s a list of reasons to exercise:
- Weight loss
- Endorphins help to stabilize your mood—especially for anxiety and depression
- Increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain
- Decreases stress hormones like cortisol (cortisol contributes to belly fat)
- Improves sleep quality
- Boosts energy levels
- Spruces up your sex life
- May improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels—-which in turn reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke
- Increases bone density to decrease chances of osteoporosis
- Prevention of Type II Diabetes
- Prevention of Cancer
Things to think about before you start your program:
- Commit to 3-4 days per week for a minimum of 3 weeks. In my opinion, it takes three weeks to get used to an exercise routine.
- Start an exercise journal and write down all of your activity
- Start with 20 minutes per day and schedule this on your calendar
- Aim for “moderate” exercise like walking, swimming, light aerobics, weight lifting, etc.
- An “I’ll get around to it” attitude doesn’t work.
- Once you’re feeling good with 20 minutes, increase your time by 5 minutes every week until you reach 45-50 minutes.
- If you feel like you don’t have time for a planned work-out, try doing simple things like always taking the stairs, mow your lawn with a push-mower, park far away so that you have to walk, or adopt a dog so that you make yourself go for a walk.
Still haven’t convinced you to exercise yet? Send me an email and maybe I can convince you further! 🙂
Disclaimer: As always, when starting a new exercise routine, please check with your doctor prior to starting.