America is becoming an increasingly sedentary society. This can lead to issues relating to back pain, heart disease, obesity, and increased levels of stress. Exercise–whether it be walking for a few minutes a day, pushing a lawnmower, or competitive sport–is essential to staying healthy. The FMC offers a full range of exercise and weight-loss counseling, but here are a few of the basics:
- Exercise daily.
Exercising one or two times per week is simply not enough to maintain a healthy level of fitness. The fact is that you are eating three times a day and if you exercising only three times a week–especially if your lifestyle is otherwise sedentary–then you will be consuming many more calories than you are burning. Hint: be sure to maintain your momentum. Exercising six days a week will make this possible.
- Keep it fun.
If you do not enjoy exercising then you will not continue to do it.
- Exercise with a friend (or a team).
Everyone has days when they do not feel like exercising and having a partner or team will allow you to encourage them on days when they may not be motivated or feel like exercising. Your spouse, your kids, your parents, and your co-workers are all potential exercise partners.
- Location/Where to exercise.
This is very specific to your own personal preference. Some individuals love to take the time and energy to ‘go somewhere’ such as the gym, the pool, the track, or the tennis courts. Other individuals have the attitude that if their exercise equipment is not in their home, yard, or garage then they simply aren’t going to find the time. It is important to exercise, wherever you do it!
- Helpful exercise hints.
Start with something easy, like walking, to get into the habit. Wear comfortable altletic foot wear. And take some music along with you.
Obviously, strength training at various ages will take on many different froms. Standard weight training, exercise machines, bands, floor routines, and exercise DVDs can all play a part.
Many sports will increase one’s heartrate. The ideal range is age specific. If in doubt, book an exercise consultation here at FMC. There are many great aerobic sports, including walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling, and rowing. Many team sports, such as tennis, soccer, and basketball are also excellent aerobic exercise.
Stretching is as important for your joints and muscles as strength training. It helps maintain a good range of motion, and prevents injury. For instance, when Dara Tores was training for the 2008 Olympics she did as much flexibility training and massage therapy as she did swimming. Yoga, pilates, massage, and stretching routines are all helpful for maintaining flexibility.
- How do I begin an exercise program?
If you are first starting out, begin low, and go slow. Exercise intensity and duration should be minimal. For example, start a walking program. Walk for five minutes today and increase by one minute every day for the next month. During that time you can gradually pick up your pace. Exercise will become a part of the rhythm of your daily routine. By the end of the month you’ll be walking near two miles a day (fourteen miles a week!). You might choose to substitute other activities or simply to continue walking for thirty-five minutes a day.
- What are good exercise activities?
Anything that gets your muscles moving or gets your heart rate up, is exercise. This can include a variety of hobbies, leisure activities, or even ‘chores.’ Gardening, hiking, raking, and mowing are all great activities.
- How often should I exercise?
Every day is best, but at least three times per week, in addition to leading an active lifestyle (link to question below on active lifestyle).
- What type of exercise should I do?
You should consult with your doctor before beginning any serious exercise regime. The FMC offers both exercise and weight loss counseling.
- What about an active lifestyle?
An active lifestyle means more than just regular exercise. There is a great difference between sitting all day, and getting up to walk every few minutes. Did you know the difference between sitting and standing for a day is several hundred calories? If you have a desk job, make sure you get up to walk frequently. If you drive everywhere, try to walk or cycle whenever you can instead of taking the car. Get a pedometer to see how much ground you cover in an average day.