Chances are if you are visiting this section it’s because we have already discussed the benefits of exercise for your health. Typically getting started is the hardest part. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise per day 5 days per week or 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, or 8,000- 10,000 steps per day. If you currently are not exercising this does not mean that you suddenly have to be at that level. All too frequently patients try to take on that challenge all at once and get frustrated. It is ok to slowly start exercising and work up to a set goal. Remember any exercise is good exercise and beneficial to your health.
Some of the concerns I routinely hear from patients who have not started exercising are the following.
“I do not have time”, “Joining a gym is too expensive”, “ I lack the motivation to exercise”
Following are some solutions if you have difficulty finding time:
- Plan ahead and schedule your exercise time
- Exercise with your kids and make it a fun family activity.
- Pick an exercise that’s fun for you and you will be more likely to make time.
- Get into music, podcasts, or audiobooks, double up your activities to get the most bang for your time.
- Exercise also does not need to be completed in one block of time. The American Heart Association recommends 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day to be healthy. You can use your cell phone to track steps or purchase an inexpensive pedometer. Try parking further away in parking lots, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get up from your desk and walk a lap of the office every 2 hours.
Joining a Gym is too expensive: Exercise does not need to be done in a gym to be effective for your health.
- Couch to Crossfit on You Tube: This designed for beginners with very little experience exercising. The workouts may be completed in typically 10 minutes or less and requires little to no equipment.
- There are multiple apps that may down loaded to your smart phone. Many are free some cost <$5. One that I use is the “7 minute workout” There is both a free version and paid version.
- There are multiple DVD’s that can be purchased at consignment shops or rented from the library
- Walking, running, biking, swimming in a neighborhood pool.
Local activities in the Cary area: If being around other people works for you.
There are many local gyms in the area, we do not support one gym over the other but finding a place where you are comfortable is important
- Senior Center Town of Cary
- Wake County Senior Center
- Raleigh Parks and Rec – Great for youth activities:
Local churches for yoga and activities
Many fitness shops have free classes charity or fund raising teams. If you lack motivation:
- Set a goal, and post it somewhere where you look at it every day like your bathroom mirror
- Walk with friends or family
- Try to pay attention to the time of the day when you are the most motivated and strive to exercise during those times.
- Get a new set of workout clothes or tennis shoes.
- Run with a dog
- Try a cup of coffee for a caffeine charge especially if trying to exercise late in the day
You do not need to track your heart rate a simple way to monitor how hard you are exercising is the talk test: If you can talk but not sing them you are exercising at a moderate intensity, If you are unable to say more than a few words this is considered vigorous.
Examples of Moderate intensity:
- Walking Briskly
- Water aerobics
- Bicycling (< 10 MPH)
- Ballroom dance
Examples of vigorous activity:
- Race walking
- Swimming laps
- Tennis (singles)
- Jump rope
- Heavy gardening
- Hiking uphill
Why is all of this exercise good for you?
Research has shown that 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week along with strength training twice per week can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and risk of type 2 Diabetes. Exercise also reduces the risk of colon and breast cancer, decreases stress and depression and can enhance mental acuity as we age (JNP, vol. 11 (7) pp. 685)
Exercise improves cognitive function. Aerobic training helps older adults with organization, planning and attention. Exercise also reduces inflammation in your body, and improves balance and strengthens bone lessoning your risk of osteoporosis (ScientificAmerican, p 53)
A 2012 analysis of 6 studies composed of 655,000 adults over 10 years demonstrated that people who performed 11 minutes of light exercise per day (gardening, walking) had an 1.8 year longer life expectancy after age 40 over their inactive peers. Participants who met recommendation (150 min of moderate exercise/ week) had a life expectancy of 3.4 years longer, and those who were active between 60-90 min daily lived for 4.2 years longer (Scientific American, p 53)
“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.” – John Adams
“It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.” -Cicero
“The best retirement saving you can have is a regular exercise plan” -James Womble