You know you should exercise, but something always seems to get in the way. Always busy, you’re tired and at this moment, your T.V. and couch have never looked better. You are not alone: Approximately 50% of Americans do not get the recommended minimum amount of physical activity. Obesity and Type II diabetes have reached epidemic level even though they are both preventable diseases. You might be concerned about it, but while you know regular exercise can help change body composition, you’re not convinced it will work for you. Besides, you’re not vain, right? Who needs to look like [insert famous actor or actresses name here]? You’re fine how you are!
While you’re correct not to place too much emphasis on physical appearance (congrats), physical activity has been proven to provide many benefits, improving disease resistance and mental health as well as physical health. In fact, a recent campaign by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is encouraging medical doctors to prescribe exercise like they would prescribe medicine (see http://www.exerciseismedicine.org/ for more details) because of how profoundly exercise affects our health! Want to know more? Below is a just a small sample of the ways regular exercise can improve your life.
- Decreased pain levels
- Reduced inflammation
- Better reaction to high stress situations
- Faster recovery from concussion
- Better social functioning
- Decreased incidence of obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic disease and Type II diabetes
- Lowered incidence of depression
- Higher self esteem
- Increased blood concentration of HDLs (good cholesterol)
- Decreased blood concentration of LDLs (bad cholesterol)
- Better objective and subjective sleep
- Increased quality of life
- Less anxiety
- More energy
- Decreased incidence of hypertension
- And much much more!!
The fact is, if there was a pill that gave all the benefits that exercise does, there would be rioting in the streets to get ahold of it! So why not take advantage of this “miracle drug”? The side effects are minimal, you’ll feel much better for it, and besides, it can’t hurt to look like [insert famous actor or actress’ name here]!
What qualifies as exercise?
When most people think of exercise, they imagine marathon runners or Olympic weight lifting. In truth, physical exertion encompasses a much wider range of activities. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity is recommended at least 5 days a week, with an intensity equivalent to a brisk walk. However, there are many more ways to get that activity in besides walking! Here are some options!
The idea with physical activity is not to torture yourself, but to get up and moving so that you look and feel better! Don’t box yourself in by assuming that exercise has to mean getting on a treadmill. Explore your options and find something that you enjoy!
How can I establish an exercise routine?
Many people feel intimidated when they begin exercising. The unlimited (and often misleading) amount of information that can be found on the internet gives the impression that physical activity is exclusive, difficult, and exceedingly complicated. At Evans Chiropractic & Pain Laser Clinic, we’d like to alleviate any anxiety you may have by giving you some tips on how to successfully start an exercise program!
- Don’t worry about anyone else. Gymtimidation is real, but don’t let imaginary fears about what other people are thinking of you stop you from getting some exercise. It’s a lot more likely that any gym goers you see are focused on A) their own workout or B) how awesome their biceps look. So forget about them, and have fun!
- Find an exercise that fits your personality. Are you a social person? Then do something that engages you socially like a group exercise class, a kickball team, or walk with a group of friends. If you’d like more time alone, walking or jogging solo might be a better fit. Enjoy the outdoors? Try cycling, hiking, or horseback riding. There are so many options that you should be able to find a form of exercise that works for you!
- Be honest with yourself. If you don’t live close to a gym, it may be harder to make exercise a habit for you. Likewise, if you are not a morning person, don’t plan on somehow getting up at the crack of dawn to make a boot camp class. There are many ways to fit exercise into your life, and it doesn’t mean you have to make a big financial investment. There are a plethora of free exercise videos to be found on YouTube, with a range of activities, exercise duration, and levels of experience available. We’d recommend trying videos by Fitness Blender for cardiovascular training or Yoga with Tim for flexibility and strength training. But remember, do what works for you!
- DON’T OVERDO IT! A common mistake new exercisers make is trying too much too fast. The goal is to enjoy yourself while getting some health benefits, not to make yourself so sore you can’t pick up the phone tomorrow at work. So slow down, and take it easy! The best program for you is the one you’ll keep doing; try to keep it pleasant while still challenging yourself. Slow and steady wins the race, so work consistently toward your goal to get the results you want!
- Going in bouts is fine! If 30 minutes of continuous exercise seems impossible to you, or if you don’t think you’ll have that much time, try splitting exercise into 10 minute bouts. Walking on your break, climbing the stairs at work, or biking to your place of employment can add up to be a lot of physical activity!
- Keep Going. If you miss a day or a workout, don’t worry about it. It’s normal to struggle once in a while, just make sure you get back to it tomorrow!
So get out there and get moving! We promise you that if you start a program and stick with it, you won’t regret it! If you have any questions about what exercise is appropriate for you, supplementation, or just need encouragement in general, don’t hesitate to talk with the staff at Evans Chiropractic! Happy exercising!