Healthy Living Part 2: Exercise
By Dr. P
First of all, I’m a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Doctor who is passionate about nutrition and healthy living. I always want my patients to spend more time taking better care of themselves, so they spend less time in my office.
The information given here is correct and accurate to the best of my knowledge. This advice is medical advice for the “average person”, but as we all know, none of us are the average, ideal person, so know that your needs may differ. Please use it in consultation with your personal physician and other health care providers.
What does it mean to Live Healthy?
If you ask people what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, they will tell you “it means to take care of yourself,” and by reading this, you are taking the first step in healthy living. Being healthy is taking time to put you first. Many times, busy people put themselves at the bottom of the list and do everything for everyone else before they take care of themselves. In my biased opinion, a lot of women do this often. But if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else- so thanks for putting yourself first and reading this.
Step 2 Exercise
Regular exercise boosts metabolism, increases feel good hormones (endorphins) and decreases stress hormones (cortisol). Studies have also shown that it is the most effective way to guard against getting sick and building immunity.
It is best to alternate your exercise between aerobic exercise, resistance training, and balance work.
One interesting fact is that outdoor exercise benefits your mood more than indoor exercise due to the combination of sun, fresh air, and a changing environment, Exercising outdoors helps you to focus on other things rather than just being “in your own thoughts”. I personally exercise indoors because it fits my schedule and lifestyle better. I hop on the treadmill or the recumbent bike, and watch a movie or TV. This is the only way I will watch TV….so if there is something that I’m dying to see…it’s a great way to keep me motivated!
Resistance Training is any exercise that causes muscles to contract against an external force. Common examples of resistance training are weight lifting and using resistance bands.
Resistance training strengthens bone and muscle. This is important because as we age, we lose muscle mass. Resistance training also raises metabolic rate which allows those of us that love to eat to consume more calories and not gain weight!
Strength training increases muscle mass, bone strength and it has also been shown to increase bone mass and calcium depositing in those over 30.
The American College of Sports medicine recommends strength training 3-4 times weekly where you work on all the major muscle groups of the body (chest, arms, shoulders, back, abdomen, and legs).
You can also use your own body for resistance training. Push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, squat thrusts, lunges, and step-ups are some of the exercises that you can do to strengthen your body.
Balance Training increases your flexibility, strengthens your core, and leads to increased coordination.
Yoga and Pilates are both great ways to increase your balance, strengthen your core, and increase your flexibility. Increased balance leads to increased coordination.
Any exercise that works one side of the body while making the other side not move then has to be repeated will increase your balance. Increased balance leads to increased coordination.
Ideal Fitness Plan
So your ideal fitness plan would include 3 days of cardio, 3 days of resistance training and 4 days of balance training each week. The nice thing is that resistance and balance training can often overlap. Daily physical activity allows your body to maintain an elevated metabolic rate.
Fitting Exercise into your Schedule
If you’re like me, you’re saying, “How do I fit that in to my busy schedule?” Here’s my advice: set a time to exercise daily (just as you would set a time daily to take a shower, get up, get ready for work).
We manage to squeeze getting up, getting ready, applying makeup, and fixing our hair into our daily routine. Exercise is just as important as daily hygiene.
Set 30 minutes aside when it’s good for you…it doesn’t have to be in the morning. I usually exercise after coming home from work….it’s a nice little stress relief for me. Just set a time and do it. You are worth it!