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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Time to Start Exercising!!!

What's your excuse?

I've heard them all.  But, it's time to see the excuse for what it is, realize that exercise is crucial to good health, and start or get back to making it a habit.

A good goal for everyone is to get at least thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week -- this is exercise that is sustained and keeps the heart rate elevated.  This means a heart rate of 60-85% of your predicted maximal heart rate, though an easier gauge of exertion is that you should be able to carry on a conversation, but talking should be just a little challenging.

Here are some of the excuses I hear every day:

"I'm too tired"
Exercise gives you energy.  The more you move, the more energy you have.  If you don't move, you have less energy.

"I have no time"
Your body and your arteries could care less how much "time" you have.  Make the time, it's important.  Do you have ten minutes during your lunch break to get outside and walk?  Do you have a couple minutes before dinner, or after dinner?  I'm sure you do.  I fit it in by getting up early in the morning, often 5:00 am, to get my workout in before I see patients.

"I have arthritis -- my knees/hips/back hurts"
Again, your arteries don't care about your aches and pains.  And, in fact, for some of those pains will benefit from exercise and range of motion.  If walking hurts, then get on a bicycle, or swim or walk in a pool.

"I have an active job"
Occasional lifting of heavy items or intermittent walking are not the sustained cardiovascular exercise that your heart benefits from.  Unless you are a valet who is literally running for hours to fetch cars, a bike courier, or you're doing some sort of continuous exercise for thirty or so minutes of a time, your job doesn't count as exercise.

"I stretch"  "I lift weights"
Great, I'm sure you're very limber or strong.  But that's not the sustained cardiovascular exercise that will keep your heart healthy.

"I'm lazy"
Really?  Don't be.

That's me, at about 25 1/2 miles into the LA Marathon, setting a good example for my patients and exercising :)

2 comments:

Mona said...

I would be interested to see how effective peer educators are vs. physicians in getting people to exercise.

Lit search time!

Anonymous said...

I do 45 minutes of cardio four days a week, what I don't like is weight training. I am also 60 years old, is weight training that important that I should try to include some a few days a week.