As I climb out of my cave after this winter of hibernation :), I began to think about what should I be doing to stay healthy activity wise. So, I'm going to throw a few questions at you. Do you want to live longer with more energy and improved mood? Would you like to be sick less, sleep better, and have less pain? What about being smarter? Well, guess what, for the low price of regular exercise, you can reap these benefits! I know I can use some of these added benefits in my life.
Joking aside, I just read some scientists and researchers are suggesting that sitting could be the next smoking. I want you to think about how much you sit in a day? It's often more than you think, calculate driving, eating, sitting at work, reading and computer time. It is common that it is somewhere between 8-12 hours a day! We need to get more active!
What should we be doing?
The most straightforward answer is to do something you love; you don’t want to make it a chore because then it will be easier to skip it. Another thing that helps is goals, realistic and specific goals. Rather than I want to lose weight, I want to lose 10 pounds in one month, or I want to climb Mt Everest, instead, start with the hill down the road. Update your goals regularly and get a support system to help with accountability, to maintain continued success. An example is I do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because I am getting a hard workout and I want to be there to learn and get better. I also have a Professor who will hunt you down if you miss class :), the fun mixed with my being held accountable is how I stay active.
How much should we do?
Remember a lot of these are the bare minimums, so challenge yourself to do more! Another way to put it is that these guidelines are you being a C student. Variety is also helpful, try and pick different exercises. Similar activities will not test us as much, and we want to stress our system because that can offer more positive changes and results.
Multiple sources suggest a combination of strength training and aerobic activity; 150 minutes moderate per week (21 minutes per day) or 75 minutes vigorous per week (less than 11 minutes per day).
Strength Training Examples-1-2 times a week
I suggest starting with body weight exercises - Push-ups, Squats, Dips, Lunges, Planks, Side-Planks. Do these until you can easily do the 10-12 reps, then progress to adding some weights be it machines, kettle bells, or free weights.
Examples of Moderate activity-150 minutes a week (21 minutes per day)
Brisk Walking, light jogging, water aerobics, leisurely bike ride, and dancing.
Examples of Vigorous activity-75 minutes a week (less than 11 minutes per day)
Hiking/walking uphill, swimming laps, more serious bicycling, most sports, and shoveling, but after all that snow, we are probably done with shoveling.
Movement is Medicine
I looked up the most prescribed medicines to see what conditions we are using medication to treat. Several of them were for pain/inflammation, depression/anxiety, heart disease, thyroid, and antibiotics. I hear a lot of people are tired of taking medication, with more activity you may be able to decrease some meds you are on :).
Next month I will be writing about injury prevention, so we can stay active and continue to achieve our goals.
Note: Always check in with your doctor if you are having any abnormal pains or problems. If you are on several medications, it is also a good idea to have a conversation about what will be better for you.
More suggestions on Exercises: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/moderate-and-vigorous-physical-activity/
More specific Exercise Benefits: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-exercise#section1
More specifics on Prescribed Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025009/