Exercise Your Way to Better Health! By William Ginsberg
You know that exercising is a great way to relieve stress, stay healthy, and feel good about yourself. But did you know that exercising can help improve many common medical conditions?
The key is to follow an exercise program that includes both aerobic exercise and strength training, and stick to it over a long period of time. Regular exercise provides more health benefits than exercising infrequently. There are no specific exercises designed to help any particular chronic health condition, but here are some key points that all patients should consider when thinking about exercise:
- Your goal should be to get aerobic exercise, such as walking, at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes, five days per week.
- You should exercise at a pace that causes you to break a sweat, but not so intense that you cannot have a conversation.
- Pick exercises that you enjoy, so you can look forward to them each week.
- Additionally, strength training, such as weight lifting or using a medicine ball, should be performed twice per week.
Any amount of physical activity, even at a low intensity, can result in significant benefits to your medical condition. Exercise generally decreases your blood pressure by 5-7 points within a month. Physical activity also improves your cholesterol levels and improves the way your body controls your sugar levels. This will reduce your risk of getting a heart attack or stroke, lessen your chances of developing diabetes, and build stronger bones.
Research has shown that regular exercise at a moderate intensity significantly improves lifespan. You will also be more motivated to diet, and will have an easier time losing weight, which will have an even greater effect on your health and well-being.
It can be difficult to find time to add exercise to an already busy day in New York CIty! However, here are some simple changes you can make to your day that will help you meet your exercise goals:
- Park your car a few extra blocks away from work, so you can do some extra walking.
- Skip the elevator, and take the stairs instead.
- Use part of your lunch break to take a walk around the block.
- Wake up early and exercise before you go to work.
If you’re going to exercise outside in the cold weather this winter, follow these tips to stay safe and have an enjoyable outdoor workout:
- Dress in layers.
- Start out slowly. It takes a few weeks of regular outdoor exercise for your body to adjust to the cold.
- Stay hydrated. It may be cold, but you still need to drink water throughout your workout.
- Wear sunscreen. Harmful rays from the sun can reflect off the snow and be even more intense than normal.
- Skip the outdoor workout when it’s raining, below zero, or very windy.
- Change out of your clothes immediately after the workout. Sitting around in cold, sweaty clothes will increase your risk of catching a cold.
Unlike medications, many of which have unwanted side effects, there aren't many negative consequences to regular exercise!
Remember, prior to starting any exercise program, all patients should seek medical evaluation from their physician. Not all exercise programs, including those mentioned here, are suitable for everyone, and exercising beyond your capabilities may result in injury. Carry out all exercise activities at a pace that is comfortable for you. Stop exercising immediately if you feel pain or discomfort, and seek immediate medical consultation.