Did your doctor tell you "you need to start exercising", or are you finally ready to begin an exercise program, but don't know where to start? Keep it Simple and Keep it Going!
The annual check-up. Have you had yours? Did you complete all of the age-related tests such as a mammogram, colonoscopy, and blood work. How are your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose numbers? If you are not sure and have not visited your doctor in a while, a complete physical is the place to start. Sure, most people dread the exam, but the results can help you determine your goals and direction and provide a starting point.
I am guessing you have had your exam, and are reading this because “the doctor said you need to start exercising” but didn’t give you much more information than that. Maybe you know you need to start exercising and want to begin BEFORE your physical – in either case, the information presented below will give you some direction.
You know you need to start exercising; the media has jumped on the fact that a sedentary lifestyle is contributing to a whole host of chronic disease and lowering our quality of life. A sedentary lifestyle is now considered “the new smoking” and is being blamed for everything from low energy, to chronic disease and physical dysfunction. And, possibly, your doctor may have mentioned exercise to you in your last visit.
Many doctors have been slow to begin “prescribing” exercise to their patients. There are many reasons for this including lack of time, the doctor’s own lack of knowledge, the patient’s demand for a quick fix (ie a pill), and the fact that few insurance companies cover exercise, but rather allocate their dollars toward treatment of illness.
Wouldn’t it be great though, if rather than treating an illness, you could prevent or delay an illness? We have blindly accepted the belief that with aging comes disease and dysfunction; Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronically sore and achy joints, loss of strength and range of motion, and the list goes on and on.
The truth is, none of these things are inevitable, even if you have a genetic disposition toward them. More and more studies are showing that lifestyle is often the main determinant in the development of many chronic illnesses that plague our world today. This is emphasized by the fact that more and more young people are developing the illnesses that were once considered diseases of old age. Young children and teens are developing high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and joint and skeletal problems that years ago were found primarily later in life.
OK, let’s get on with it. You already know you need to begin exercising, but you don’t know where to start. Keep it simple. Walking is always a great start, but the winter weather doesn’t always cooperate. Truly, there are few things more beautiful than a trail walk after freshly fallen snow, but you need to find something you can do every day.
Let’s start with walking. Do you have a place where you can walk indoors? How about at work? Some companies have their own fitness center – are you taking advantage of it? If your company does not have a fitness center, maybe you could walk from one end of the building to the other or find a route among the hallways to walk. Use part of your lunch time to get a walk in – 15 minutes is better than no minutes.
No place to walk at work? Have you checked out local YMCA’s, Recreation Centers, or Health Clubs? Some have walking tracks, most have treadmills. Find one close to home and stop after work to get your walk in before you head home. Don’t let cost be an excuse – there are many $10.00/month clubs out there and honestly, 99% of you can find an extra $10.00/month in your budget.
Most people find that lack of time is their biggest challenge. We are all time-strapped; between working, managing a household, taking care of family members, volunteering, and taking time to enjoy (yes, that is important too), exercise often gets pushed to the bottom of the never-ending to-do list.
If you need some motivation and accountability, a Health Coach can assist you with making healthier choices and help you fit those choices into your daily life.
Review your day – most of you have 30 minutes that you can dedicate to exercise. What??? Yes, it’s true; once you really analyze your day you will usually find that you let at least 30 minutes of your day evaporate into thin air. You may not even be able to recall how you spent some of your time. If you cannot remember, most likely you spent that time doing something unimportant.
Swiping through social media accounts, posting every picture of your shoe shopping adventure, or catching up on the latest celebrity news might seem “fun”, but is it really? Or, are you just finding something to do? Try using those minutes to do something good for your body.
Back to walking – SCHEDULE it! Make it AS IMPORTANT as going to a doctor’s appointment, attending a birthday party, or volunteering at a local charity event. Make it MORE IMPORTANT than checking your Facebook page for the 10th time, hitting the drive thru for your favorite cup of coffee, or scrolling through channels to try to figure out which TV program to watch. I know many of you record your favorite shows so you can watch them when you have time. Make exercise more important than that!
What? Get up and walk rather than binge watch the latest series? YES! It’s 30 minutes – a very small part of your day, but a very small part that can have enormous benefits. Really? YES -you don't have to spend hours on end working out to improve your health. But, will that 30 minutes truly offer some benefits?
Would you like to improve your mood and energy? Do you find yourself getting weaker and struggling with your endurance? Are you exhausted after tackling some project you need to complete at home?
If you knew there was a pill available that would reduce your risk of developing Type II diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure, bone and muscle loss, joint pain, weight gain, and memory issues without any unhealthy side effects, would you take it?
Don’t wait for the pharmaceutical companies to find this miracle drug – it is already available. It’s called EXERCISE. And, honestly, even if the drug companies did discover such a miracle pill, they would never sell it – it would cause them to go out of business!
Dr.Mercola’s website includes a quote by Jordan Metzl, a sports-medicine physician at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery and author of The Exercise Cure, stating that
"Exercise is the best preventive drug we have, and everybody needs to take that medicine."
So, it’s up to you to make it happen. Find that 30 minutes a day – even if you need to break it up into two 15-minute segments. Cough up the 10 bucks to join a fitness center if you have nowhere else to exercise. Give up the channel-surfing for awhile. Get to Happy Hour a half hour later. Spend a little less time on Facebook (gasp!)
Choose to be healthier and make it happen.
BETTER HEALTH, BETTER LIFE, BETTER YOU!
Ready for more? Check back each week for ideas to improve your health through exercise as well as simple tips to Make It Happen!
Check out my website or find me on social media @cinergydynamics for more information about fitness, nutrition, and overall health.