"Get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise every day."
This recommendation is passed from health care providers to their patients all the time. But it can be pretty hard to achieve. It's not that we aren't interested in being more fit. It's just that life sometimes gets in the way. And when you hear seemingly impossible recommendations from your doctor, it can be discouraging. You already know if you're going to be able to follow this advice, even before you leave the examination room. And if you can't, you might feel like you've been set up to fail.
But why not think about it differently? Rather than trying to achieve a rigid set of recommendations given to everyone, let's personalize it and think of a few things that you can do to be more active today.
Here's a few that I've been working on:
1. Taking the stairs: Every day I have a choice. I can take the elevator to my office on the fourth floor, or I can take the stairs. Taking stairs will burn calories, get your heart pumping, and will actually wake you up!
2. Parking at the first spot available: I used to circle the parking lot looking for the most convenient spot. But now I park further away. Just a few minutes each way adds up -- to and from the office, the mall, or the grocery store.
3. Warming up: Remember the push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks you used to do in grade school? They still work. You can burn a few dozen calories in the time it takes for a commercial break. Push-ups will help strengthen your back and your abs in addition to your arms. In many ways I think they're a perfect exercise for building muscle mass and increasing your metabolism.
So what works for you? What ways have you found to sneak some exercise into your day?
That 30-60 minutes is of some continuous exercise to help give the heart better stamina, and not effect blood pressure much.
I try to get in tw o or three 10-15 minute walks a day, AND another 30-60 minutes in the evening of exercycle, treadmill, rowing machine or step-ups.
Push-ups and sit-ups are weight bearing exercises that will push up blood pressure fast in an unfit person. Theyare good for improving strength, but are NOT the warm-up.
An added benefit of the long moderate exercise is the possible stimulation of coronary collaterals. I have an entire network of coronary capillaries from decades of regular long exercise and garden work. They saved my life at age 53. I had an angiogram for sudden severe unstable angina, and my situation was so bad they did not think I would survive until CABG surgery 18 hours later.
When people can not fit in their 30-60 minutes almost daily, they might be fitted for a casket sooner than they think.
I had a heart attack at age 33. I had wonderful coaches at my cardiac rehab that inspired me to get a treadmill. Now I get up at 5 every morning, throw in a movie and walk 30 minutes every day. My clothes are looser and my lungs feel stronger and life is just better all over.
By watching tv the half hour flies by and I don't even know that I did it.
I see you wrote this three years ago, hope you're still on here. I have a spinal condition called Spondylolisthesis. What sort of excercise can I do. I walk when the weather allows. But what else can I do? I was thinking of yoga. What do you think?
I'd recommend speaking with your general doctor to make sure that you don't engage in any activities that will aggravate your spinal condition. But some people find that exercises that are lower impact, non-weight bearing (swimming comes to mind!) could be useful.
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