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News Flash: Daily exercise is mandatory, not optional

October 21, 2011
Aerobic In The City

Image by MR MARK BEK via Flickr

Exercise is not just a means to looking good and it is not a luxury.  Exercise is essential to help reduce cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.  Plus, many people who exercise regularly enjoy more energy, better focus and concentration, more fulfilling rest, and overall better health and well-being.

So why don’t more people exercise?

When I talk about exercise with my patients, many of them feel overwhelmed. They have preconceived ideas about what is required for a successful exercise program: a gym membership, a personal trainer, and daily workouts for one to two hours.

In fact, our daily exercise requirement is far simpler than that.  In my opinion, a 20 minute session is considered a “full workout.”  It is OK if you need to start with less than that.  Your first workouts may be only 5 or 10 minutes, especially if you have not exercised for a long time.  Of course, you must talk with your doctor before starting.  If you are new to exercise, get help.

For the greatest benefits, I recommend a combination of two kinds of exercise:

  1. “Cardio,” or Cardiovascular exercise such as walking, jogging, biking, using cardio equipment, or working out with home DVDs or TV shows.  Some people choose walking because is easy and inexpensive and you can often do it right outside your door.
  2. Weights and resistance exercise. I created my “Weight Lifting for Beginners” DVD to help people take the first important steps toward integrating weights into their exercise regimen.  Cardio/walking is not enough; weights and resistance training are important to build bone and muscles, and maintain strength.

Carving out 20 minutes a day to exercise is reasonable for almost everyone.  Finding exercise time may be as simple as watching a little less TV (unless it is MY show of course!).  Consider making it a family affair so spending time together  creates lasting healthy habits for you and your children.

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