If the benefits of exercise could be put into a pill would you take it?
If so why would you take it? Most likely because you know that pill is extremely helpful. It would make your muscles stronger, including your heart muscle thus decreasing risk of death from heart disease. It would lower your bad cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and blood sugar, and increase the good cholesterol. It would improve your memory. It would slow osteoporosis. It would make you less likely to have falls. It would improve your mood and lessen symptoms of depression.
Exercise is Medicine!
Exercise does all this and more, however it is extremely difficult to get people to follow exercise advice or adhere to an exercise program? Why? Because taking a pill is so much easier, and maybe because the cost of medicine is covered by insurance. So many take such care to take medications, vitamins, eat healthier, but still find it difficult to adhere to medical advice to exercise. It could be do to the information out there seems conflicting, or too complicated.
Just Do it!
Like the Nike advertisements “just do it” something is better than nothing. Exercise benefits come from doing something instead of nothing. Start with walking, when your body is comfortable with this, push a little, do it a little faster, try a different course, one with hills or uneven ground, add walking poles, try a slow jog. Take a bike ride, build in some hills or some sprints. Get some weights or stretchy bands, check out a yoga or tai chi video from the local library. Take a belly dancing or zumba class. Borrow exercise equipment from a friend. Join a gym for a few months.
Can you stick with if for the long-term?
It takes six months of exercise to establish a habit.
In medicine we talk about the stages of change
Where are you in the stages of change when it comes to exercise?
I titled this Exercise Prescription. You were probably thinking I would talk about heart rate ranges,intensity of exercise, frequency of exercise, duration of activity, and what mode of exercise is best. Well OK if I must.
The heart rate should increase with exercise doesn’t matter if it is a little or a lot both are beneficial.
Intensity should be enough that can do it without getting hurt or over doing it. Can you breath and are free of symptoms? Are you exhausted for the rest of the day after the exercise? If so that is too hard, back it down, as you won’t stick with it if you are pushing this hard.
How often EVERY DAY do something, how long – it doesn’t matter some is better than none. Two minutes or 90 minutes what is going to fit into your schedule today? Again something is way better than nothing.
What type of exercise is best? The type you like and will stick with. Varying exercise is best as there is less overuse injury potential and you involve more muscle groups, however if there is something you can find and stick with it for the long haul…that is the exercise that is best for you.