|Mark O. Haroldsen’s BLOG|
Last week I wrote about the “New Science of Exercise” as talked about in Time Magazine. Since science has confirmed the huge benefits of exercise for both health and longevity, I thought it was pretty darn important to give some more specifics concerning exercise.
We all know that it takes mental and physical energy to make ourselves move and move enough that it really can make a difference for a good, healthy, long life. As mentioned in the article, the World Health Organization advises “most adults to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week and twice weekly muscle strengthening.” But what counts as moderate-intensity exercise?
According to the article, moderate-intensity is “everything you think of as exercise plus lots of stuff you don’t, including brisk walking, playing with the kids, walking the dog, carrying heavy groceries or gardening. Do at least 10 minutes at a time, and break it up however you want.” This is great news because most of us could easily sneak in 10 minutes of activity here and there to make up that 150 minutes.
If you are hesitant to start or speed up your exercise program or, like many people, are not looking forward to the idea of starting a strength training regimen, please remember the ‘baby step’ concept. You can go ahead and set big goals but concentrate on taking baby steps, especially at first so you don’t get discouraged. For instance, the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week may sound like a lot but break that up into chunks of time that work for you. It could be just two 11-minute play sessions with your kids or dog each day or 40 minutes of gardening 4 times a week or 30 minute chunks of time 5 days a week doing whatever aerobic activity sounds good that day. Work in those two strength training sessions each week and you will be in really good shape to live a long and healthy life.
But if this still sounds like too much to take on right away, start with just 60 minutes the first few weeks—maybe 10 minutes a day with one day off–then gradually increase the number of minutes each day until you are at 150 minutes a week.
Here are a few other little secrets that have helped me with my exercise program. First of all, I tried to work my baby steps into small but regular habits; like instead of driving down my very long drive way to pick up the morning paper I starting walking which takes about 15 minutes. Later on I started to zig zag my walk to increase the time and the total steps it took. Also, I began parking my car on the far end of the parking lot at whatever store I might need to go to. The great thing about these little activities, is that once they turn into habits, you don’t even think about what you are doing, you just automatically do it.
Another of my little secrets is that I made it a goal to get to know and hang out with more active people. It’s also very helpful to be married to a wonderful person who seems to always be in motion. My wife helps even more by frequently asking me how much exercise or how many total steps and time I logged in for the day. Even my friends started asking me my total minutes or steps logged for the day or week. Having people around you that are interested in health and longevity and are doing it themselves, is very, very helpful and motivating. Try it and I’ll bet it works for you too!
Previously on Mark O. Haroldsen's Blog