Today, Peggy Harris, one of Trinity’s excellent PA’s joins us on the blog. She dives further into the importance of exercise and why it is a necessary part of a truly healthy lifestyle. Happy Reading!

Busy … Busy … Busy …

These are the buzzwords for our lives in the 21st century, and the words “I am too busy” or “I just don’t have the time” are the number 1 reason that patients give to their health care providers for not exercising.  Just how busy are we and why should we make the time to exercise?

Exercise has been proven to benefit and improve our lives.  It helps to control weight, boosts HDL (our “good” cholesterol), increases serotonin levels naturally which improves our mood.  It also helps to boost our stamina and energy levels, and it helps to improve sleep quality.  Most every patient will agree with this, and cannot deny that they NEED to exercise regularly.  The question then becomes, “how much do I have to do”?

 The 2014 recommendations from the American Heart Association call for:

At least 30 minutes of MODERATE INTENSITY aerobic activity for at least 5 days/week

or

At least 25 minutes of VIGOROUS aerobic activity at least 3 days/week

AND

MODERATE-INTENSE muscle strengthening activity at least 2 days/week

 To lower blood pressure and cholesterol the stakes are raised to 40 minutes of moderate-vigorous aerobic activity 3-4 days/week.

That sounds pretty daunting, very difficult, and almost impossible to accomplish.  To jump right in and expect to go from couch to athlete in a week is certainly setting yourself up for failure.  Remember that SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.

Start with small goals.  Many people start with pedometers and measure daily steps.  The popular benchmark of 10,000 steps/day is a good goal.  Many pedometers will even track “active minutes” which helps maximize fitness levels.  This can be done/worn every day.

Weight training does not have to include pumping weights in a gym.  Resistance training can be intense with yoga, use of resistance bands, and/or using your own body weight.  An intense, continuous thought-out program can be completed in 30 minutes.

These are building blocks that form the base for a healthier exercise program and a healthier you. How do you achieve this?:

  • Make the decision that you really want to do this
  • Set a realistic fitness/weight goal
  • Get a partner/motivation buddy
  • Get “geared up”….buy some new clothes/shoes
  • Reward yourself for goals that are met

It isn’t easy to just jump in but every journey begins with a single step.  One of my favorite quotes from Beth Moore is “Salvation is a gift… Godliness is a pursuit”…. That can be changed into “Our bodies are a gift…. Good health is a pursuit”.  Nobody is fit and healthy without effort.  Start with the minimum that you are willing to put into it then grow that as you are able/motivated to continue.