Change Your Attitude toward Exercise
The answer, which may be surprising, is exercise. It’s time to face the facts, ladies and gents. Exercise is good for you. Research has proven time and time again that exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and yet people still try to ignore this truth and opt to “take it easy.” In return, they often suffer from a multitude of chronic diseases, obesity, and depression. When all the research says otherwise, why do people continue to stick to their sedentary lifestyles?
Pop quiz: What medication can single-handedly,
- lower mortality rates,
- decrease the risk for chronic diseases and cancers,
- increase muscle strength and joint function,
- decrease fat mass and increase lean muscle mass,
- decrease medicine dosages,
- and improve your mood?
“Exercise is Medicine” is a new initiative that is aimed at changing this mindset. Our health and longevity are influenced by three factors: genetics, environment and behavior. The first two factors are relatively fixed, but we can modify our behavior and significantly affect our health. Exercise is Medicine targets this last component and urges doctors to include exercise in patients’ treatment plans. The goal of the program is for the public to view exercise as a medical treatment and a way to maintain health, and not as a necessary evil. This paradigm switch can be extremely motivating and can lead to a much healthier life.
Where to Start – Unfortunately, changing the way you think doesn’t happen overnight and that darn couch is pretty comfy and difficult to leave. So start small. Head to your primary care doctor and start asking questions. Based on your current health status, he or she can recommend fitness and nutrition goals or set you up with someone better suited to tailor your program. Check out exerciseismedicine.org where you can make your own exercise plan and track your progress.
Find little ways to incorporate fitness into your life:
- take the stairs,
- park farther out in the lot,
- walk places you would typically drive,
- play with your children,
- instead of sitting down with coffee and a newspaper in the morning, read the paper while on a treadmill.
After a few weeks, you won’t even view these as exercise – they’ll be a part of your everyday routine.
It’s Up to You – Now, you have all the necessary information, and you have the ability to change your behavior, to change your life. Whether you want to make the extra effort to do so, is up to you. Good luck and don’t forget to reward yourself for hard work!