If you know me at all, you know that all forms of movement are an important part of my life. I wasn’t always this way though. If I track back to just over 5 years ago, I was heavier, and more or less sedentary. I really wanted to start to work out, but was seriously intimidated about walking into a gym. But I did. I started by taking classes with a woman who ran small group training sessions in her home. Eventually, I joined a spinning studio that I loved, and became a regular there. The decision to do that has literally changed my life. My body shape changed, and a weight was lifted. I felt more vibrant than I had in many years and my moods were more balanced. Yet, I know that starting can be the hardest part. Here are my thoughts on why you should take the leap or stay focussed if you are already there (PS – this has been such a busy year, that this message is as much for me, as it is for you!)
Years ago, doctors rarely told people with chronic ailments to exercise because they were unsure of how much physical activity these people could handle. In the last decade, exercise has proved to be effective in helping people manage – and prevent – everything from heart disease to osteoporosis, diabetes and even cancer.
Do you exercise, or are you physical active?
Being physical active is a wonderful lifestyle choice, but it is not the same as being an exerciser. Physical activity is any body movement that leads to increased energy expenditure, while exercise is planned, structured and repetitive body movement.
For instance, activities of daily living – stuff you have to any ways, like carrying the groceries – count as physical activity. To say you exercise means you might go for a brisk walk everyday during lunch, attend a weekly yoga class or enjoy a competitive game of ball every Friday.
A Prescription for Exercise
When your doctor writes you a prescription for a drug it often comes in several different forms, a chewable tablet, a liquid suspension, etc. The dose of the drug also varies. It could be one large dose once a day or several smaller doses throughout the day.
Exercise is no different. There’s a “dose-response” relationship between exercise and health. In effect, you or your trainer could write a “prescription” for exercise, at a tolerated intensity, with your own personal “dosing” schedule. Whatever you choose to do, remember – the only requirements are that your physical activity be planned, structured and repeatedly enjoyed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, every day, for five days per week. Or, you can swap that for 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity three days a week. This is a great “prescription” to start with, working up to one hour of daily moderate intensity activity.
Time well spent.
Increasingly, chronic diseases are costing us time and money. That’s not news, but preventing disease by being physical activity is far less expensive than traditional medicine. Any time you spend enjoying yourself while being active, right now, means less time spent in convalescence, waiting for medical care when you are older.
There’s a reason that Nike chose “Just Do It” as their motto many years ago. Speak to your regular healthcare practitioner or certified personal trainer and write yourself an Exercise Prescription today!
PS – For exclusive info, free weekly challenges and new healthy recipes, join my free and private community Facebook group. Get access to free resources, like my ‘GETTING STARTED – 5 IN-HOME BODY WEIGHT EXERCISES’ that you can do at home because I remember that getting started can be intimidating, and making the time seems tough, at first.