Are you physically active? Are you one of those early morning walkers/joggers/swimmers/cyclers/and others impressively starting the day with AM exercise? Or are you a mid-morning, lunchtime or afternoon physical activity lover? Is evening best for you? It doesn’t matter when, it just matters that you do it. Kudos for everyone who is physically active! You’re not the potato hanging out on the couch.
Don’t despair if you haven’t opted in for regular exercise. It’s never too late. But it’s definitely important. The benefits of regular physical activity are numerous. Take a look at the list:
- Weight Loss
- Improved Flexibility
- Increased Energy
- Increased Muscle Mass
- Increased Bone Density
- Stress Reduction
- Improved Mood
- Blood Sugar Management/Reduction
- Improved Sleep
- Increased HDL (good cholesterol) and decreased LDL (bad cholesterol)
What a list! Who doesn’t want all that? I know that I do, and I bet you do too.
Guidelines for physical activity for adults are 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week to help manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and more. If you want to lose weight, it’s recommended that you increase your exercise to one hour most days of the week. In addition, muscle strengthening exercises should be engaged in twice per week. Guidelines for children and adolescents are 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Is it easy for many of us to enter into and maintain an exercise program? For some, yes, others, no. I tell my patients to just do something. Start somewhere. Even beginning with 15 minutes one day a week is better than no physical activity. Build on it week to week and before you know it you’ll be a lean, mean, exercising machine! I do recommend speaking to your doctor before embarking on a physical activity program to make sure you’re medically set to go.
If you’re saying to yourself that there are too many obstacles such as no time or physical limitations, here are some tips:
– If you have limited time, try exercising in ten-minute intervals several times a day.
– If you can, try getting up a little earlier in the morning for exercise.
– If you feel uncomfortable in a gym environment, exercise at home. There are tons of exercise DVDs, computer based programs such as Wii, exercise equipment and more. How about a walk around the neighborhood or local mall?
– If you have limited mobility, try things like chair exercising, yoga, swimming, or any other type of exercise that you can comfortably do.
– If you don’t like to sweat, at least exercise within a time frame that allows you to shower soon after finishing your activity. Exercise in a cool environment and for all who exercise, keep hydrated.
– Find an exercise buddy to help motivate you.
– Team sports are always a good option.
– Fun activities like ping pong can certainly burn calories.
– Wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day.
– All activity burns calories, so things like parking a little further from the door or taking the stairs instead of the elevator helps!
I always tell people to do something that you enjoy and at times that are workable for you. By doing so, it should be easier to keep it up on a regular basis. So, go forth and exercise. Maybe we’ll meet someday along the jogging path!