Movement is a gift to be treasured and enjoyed. Consider that
inactivity puts you at risk for cardiovascular problems, even if
there are no other risk factors.
How can exercise help you?
Exercise offers many
benefits, as it:
- Lowers total cholesterol and increases HDL [high-density
lipoprotein] or "good" cholesterol
- Lowers resting heart rate and blood pressure
- Aids in weight loss and helps reduce the risk of age-related
- Makes breathing more efficient
- Creates stronger muscles and bones
- Reduces the risk of cardiac events and reduces the severity if
an event does occur (by reducing some of the risk factors,
including body weight)
- Helps improve glucose tolerance, thereby reducing the risk of
- Helps control blood sugar in diabetics
- Decreases stress
- Improves quality of life
What keeps you from exercising?
given as barriers include:
- I just don't have enough motivation.
- I don't know what to do.
- I don't have enough time.
- Exercise is boring.
- I can't do anything inside.
- I'm not disciplined.
- I don't have enough money (to join an exercise
How can you overcome your barriers?
The answer to
this is to find something that motivates you. Make exercise
personal. Use a chronic health condition, family history, or
positive outcome (like keeping medication costs down) to help you
with motivation. Review the benefits of exercise. Select something
that you want to change and find a way to keep track of it.
Examples of things that you can keep track of include:
- Blood pressure
- Medicine changes
- Cholesterol levels
- How many steps you take
- How many days in a row you exercise
You might also try writing down your feelings and details on
activities in a diary.
What to do
First, think about exercise as simply
increasing your activity level.
Structured exercise and increased daily activity are not always
the same thing. Taking the steps instead of taking the elevator,
taking the least direct path to any destination, or just getting up
and walking around the office for a few minutes does not constitute
exercise. However, these things can help you burn more calories
throughout the day.
Accumulate 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days a
week (or get 20 minutes of vigorous activity three days a week.)
The suggestion of "at least five days a week" means that every day
is better, but you can break the activity down into shorter
sessions of less intense exercise. The use of the word "accumulate"
means that you can get your 30 minutes in how ever you want to do
it, such as getting 10 minutes of exercise three days per day or 15
minutes twice a day.