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Make Time for Exercise

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

“If you don’t make time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.” -Robin Sharma

The Importance of Exercise:

Maintaining physical fitness is essential for overall health and well-being. Exercise improves all aspects of health, from cardiovascular health to mental health and it reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Integrative and Functional medicine practitioners consider exercise and physical activity to be an essential part of maintaining health.

Evolutionarily we are designed to move. Our bones remodel in response to weight-bearing exercise preventing osteoporosis. Our muscles, tendons, and ligaments are continually remodeling to adapt to our environments. They remain flexible and strong in response to exercise and stress. Our brains also benefit. We are even mentally sharper, we are less depressed and our mood is better with regular exercise.

If you aren’t exercising enough, you aren’t alone.

The percentage of adults in the United States who meet the physical activity guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities is 24.2%.[i] Additionally, only 23% of Americans are reported to be meeting all national physical activity guidelines, according to a report by Time[ii]Therefore, it can be concluded that less than one-fourth of adults in the United States get enough exercise.
Most of us can do better. Our sedentary lifestyles, driving, sitting at computers, and the ease of modern life are making our health worse not better. As we age exercise is more difficult. We have more pain, our balance is worse and it is not as easy to recover. Maintaining physical activity at any age is essential for our bodies, our brains, and our overall sense of health, well-being, and ultimately our independence.

How Much Should I Exercise?

The exercise recommendation for people in the United States is to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as running, per week, in addition to muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week[iii][iv]. Children and adolescents aged 6 years and older are recommended to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. However, only 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 adolescents in the United States meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities[v]. This may vary depending on your medical condition and level of physical fitness.

Exercise is Medicine.

Regular exercise is for optimal health and wellness and it has many benefits. If we all exercised regularly, we would be leaner, fitter, happier have better cognitive function and balance. We would sleep better and have more regular bowel movements.

Some Benefits of Exercise:

1. Improved cardiovascular health - Regular exercise can help to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system. This can lead to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
2. Increased strength and endurance - Exercise can help to build muscle and improve stamina, making it easier to perform everyday tasks and activities.
3. Stress relief - Exercise is a natural stress reliever, thanks to the release of endorphins that can help to improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.
4. Better sleep - Regular exercise can help to improve sleep quality and duration, which is essential for overall health and well-being.
5. Weight management - Exercise can help to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight, which is important for reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

Exercise Should Be Fun.

Exercise should make you feel better, stronger, and happier. It might help you to meet new people and decrease your stress in addition to helping you lose weight, and maintain your brain health and physical health. Finding a physical activity that you can incorporate into your daily routines, such as walking, swimming, yoga, or dancing can be a challenge. Starting on that path can be challenging, especially after a period of limited activity. Fortunately, the more you do, the better you are at it and the better you feel. Start with walking. Take a class. Learn something new.

Choosing the best exercise.

Choosing the best exercise for you can be a daunting task, especially if you're new to exercise or haven't exercised in a while. Here are some tips to help you choose the best exercise for your needs:
1. Consider your goals - What do you want to achieve through exercise? Do you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve your cardiovascular health, or reduce stress? Different types of exercise can help you achieve different goals, so it's important to choose an exercise that aligns with your goals.
2. Think about your preferences - What types of activities do you enjoy? Do you prefer to exercise alone or with others? Some people prefer high-impact activities like running or aerobics, while others prefer low-impact activities like yoga or swimming. Choose an activity that you enjoy, as this will make it more likely that you'll stick with it over the long term.
3. Consider your fitness level - If you're new to exercise or have certain health conditions, it's important to choose an exercise that is appropriate for your fitness level. For example, if you're new to exercise, you might start with low-impact activities like walking, cycling, or swimming, and gradually increase the intensity over time.

Tips to start exercising.

Everyone has to start someplace. The easiest place to start often is just walking. Take a long way. Get out in the sun to increase your Vitamin D. If you do not exercise regularly, try some new things. Take a class, join a gym, or go out with a friend.
1. Start slowly - If you're new to exercise, start with short, low-intensity workouts and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time.
2. Set realistic goals - Set achievable goals for yourself, such as exercising for 30 minutes a day, three times a week. This can help you stay motivated and track your progress.
3. Go with a friend - Exercising with a friend or family member can help keep you motivated and accountable.
4. Mix it up - Incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine to keep things interesting and prevent boredom.
5. Listen to your body - If you experience pain or discomfort during exercise, stop and consult with a healthcare professional. It's important to exercise safely and avoid injury.

By choosing an exercise that is appropriate for your needs and starting slowly, you can safely and effectively improve your fitness level and achieve your health goals.

Citations [i] [ii] [iii] [iv]

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