We all know that we should be exercising more, but do we know why and how to get motivated? A good place to start is by realizing that effective exercise does not have to be an intense regimen like Rocky Balboa training to fight Apollo Creed! Exercise can be very effective even if it’s just 30 minutes of casual walking.
Teresa Anderson, the resident Lovelace Hospital Dietician and CDE, states, “The majority of Americans really lead sedentary lives. Despite us being ‘busy,’ we don’t move enough, and when we do move it’s really considered light activity. Exercise or activity is considered moderate when it is the equivalent of 3 ½ to 4 mph of walking for 30 minutes.” So, the good news is that a casual walk for at least 30 minutes is effective exercise!
There are more health benefits to exercising than you may realize! Exercise is good for weight loss, but it also has a lot of other benefits to keep you healthy:
• Lower your blood pressure - Heart disease is the number one killer in America. According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC.gov), about 610,000 Americans die of heart disease every year. As we get older, blood pressure rises, making exercise more and more necessary.
• Lower Cholesterol - Whether or not we feel we need to lose weight, lower cholesterol levels should always be of concern for a healthier heart. Bad cholesterol builds up in our arteries, forcing our heart to work harder. As with most things in life, things that work harder tend to wear out sooner. And lower cholesterol generally means lower blood pressure, as the two go hand-in-hand.
• Weight Loss - Light walking isn’t as fast and effective as intense exercise coupled with proper dieting, but consistent daily walking over a long period can effectively assist in weight loss. Weight loss isn’t just for looking good. Having a light frame is good for your joints, posture and breathing, which are imperative to our ability to function and care for ourselves independently. Losing independence is like losing driving privileges.
• Lowering risk of diabetes - Of course, eating right is the best way to prevent diabetes, but regular exercise and keeping the weight off in the first place reduces the risk of diabetes as well. Walking improves the metabolism of blood sugar and helps with weight loss. In fact, the American Diabetes Association states the two most effective ways to significantly lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes are by losing just seven percent of your weight (or maintaining a healthy weight in the first place), and doing moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily, five days a week.
Sometimes it can be hard to get motivated to exercise. There are many tools which can help you to establish an exercise routine and track your activity. Some tips to help you start an exercise routine might be:
• Give up one TV show a day, and set your DVR to record it! Many TV shows are 30 minutes long – just enough time to take a walk and reward yourself with a show afterwards.
• Find a good audiobook or podcast! There are thousands of audio books available, and more coming out all the time. Many audiobooks are free, and local libraries offer them online. Here is one source to find a title you might like: audible.com
• Get a good music playlist to listen to while you exercise! There are more options than ever to customize your music including streaming radio services such as Pandora. Pandora offers many workout playlist options: http://www.pandora.com/music/workout
• Find a good walking trail! There are over 18 designated walking trails in Albuquerque alone! A walking trail will help you relax and take in the scenery.
• Get a good walking buddy! Exercising is always more fun with a friend (or your dog).
Finding the proper drive to exercise can be difficult, but the health benefits make it worth finding the time and motivation to walk each day! There are many options available to help us make exercise a part of our day. With the effort
s we put in now, our hearts and bodies will thank us for years to come!
Before starting an exercise plan, talk to your physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, visit lovelace.com or call 505.727.8000.