Many of our patients have exercise goals in the new year. Increasing your physical activity can do wonders for your health. Mayo Clinic lists the top benefits of regular exercise as: weight control; prevention and management health conditions including stroke, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, many types of cancer, falls and arthritis; improves mood; boosts energy and promotes better sleep. We hear so many excuses on why our patients can't exercise, so let's tackle a few common excuses!
Excuse #1: I'm too busy. Solution: Adapt a non-traditional schedule.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of high intensity activity per week. With a packed family or work schedule, for many people this can be hard to fit into their busy schedules. According to new research 'weekend warriors" or those who participate only in exercise on the weekends or part time with just 1 or 2 sessions per week can meet these goals. Traditionally, many health experts thought that this type of workout schedule is not as effective at improving health and wellness as exercising consistently several days over the course of a week, but a new 2017 study in JAMA Internal Medicine is suggesting otherwise. See the study and more tips for making a schedule like this work for you in the link below.
Excuse #2: I haven't exercised in a long time and I don't know where to start. Solution: Start with walking and then discuss a plan with your chiropractor or physician.
Everyone can benefit from walking! Aim for a goal of 5 days a week of 30 minute moderate intensity walking. Walking can lower your BMI, lower blood pressure & cholesterol, lower fasting blood sugar, improve memory and cognitive function, and lower stress levels. Walk with a friend, walk during your lunch hour, walk to do your errands instead of driving, there are so many ways to easily incorporate walking into your routine. Already a regular walker? Up your game by picking up your pace and trying some walking intervals. 10,000 steps a day is an often cited goal, but to get more benefits aim for 15,000. Always talk to your doctor before starting any kind of physical exercise program. Chiropractors have extensive training in exercise and nutrition, so can help you get started.
Excuse #3: I'm worried about getting injured. Solution: Strength Training
The most commonly injured joints are the ankles, knees, shoulders and spine. A well rounded exercise program will always include some form of strength training. Stronger muscles surrounding the joints will help prevent injury. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends strength training for all major muscle groups at least 2 times per week. If you havent' done any strength training before or it's been a while since you've been to the gym, utilizing the services a well qualified personal trainer are definitely worth it. Your chiropractor can recommend reputable trainers in the area, and can also help you with basic core strengthening exercises. At our office we use myRehabExercise.com for our patient's home strength programs. If you don't have an account yet, ask your doctor and we can set you up with a basic core stregthening program that will be tailored to your specific health concerns.
Excuse #4: I have a baby/young kids. Solution: Exercise with them and be creative!
There are so many different ways to incorporate your child into your exercise routine. Here are some ideas:
Get a jogging stroller - once your child is 6-8 months and has good head/neck control, this is a great way to be able to exercise outside. There are local groups such as Stroller Strides where you can bring your stroller to a park and exercise with other parents and your child to make it more social.
Biking - tow your kids behind you or for the older kids, have your child bike beside you while you're biking or running.
Hiking - get a hiking pack. There are so many different backpack options to carry your child. The best option is to pick out a pack in person at an outdoor store such as REI so you can get it fitted to your frame. Packs come in many sizes and to avoid back pain, have an expert fit and measure you.
Here are some additional tips from the American Chiropractic Association for exercising with your kids.