Radio Show Transcripts
Leap Into Healthy Exercise

Exercising does not need to be mundane nor a trial of one's endurance.

It's leap day, and the name of the day has me thinking of actions like jumping rope, walking, running and other exercises.

If you're like many people who made fitness goals part of the New Year's Resolutions, chances are that your resolve has already fizzled out. I know I've certainly seen the numbers of enthused exercisers decreasing over the past few weeks at the gym. Of course, it's important to know that the benefits of exercise aren't necessarily big arms, washboard abs and rock hard glutes. The most important exercise benefits are not those things, and they don't require you to make a career out of going to the gym. Just imagine; moderate-intensity exercise can reduce one's risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic disease and some types of cancer such as colon cancer or breast cancer. In addition to that, the body can produce more of its "feel-good" chemistry that helps counter some of the many daily stresses of life. It also can help one to think more sharply and remain more focused. More benefits (that are my personal favorites) include stronger and more stable core muscles that help keep oneself more balanced, preventing falls or other injuries that come from even modestly sedentary lifestyles and deconditioning.

Current guidelines by the U.S. Department of Health instruct that the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week are safe for most people and provide the benefits I've already mentioned. The definition of moderate-intensity exercise is a level of exertion that raises one's heart rate to a point where one sweats and feels one is working, yet is able to carry on a conversation. It includes such activities as brisk walking, pushing a stroller, wheeling oneself in a wheelchair, gardening, raking leaves and shoveling snow. Good news is that one can benefit even when exercising in just short burst of, say, ten or fifteen minutes at a time.

Some of the best ways to keep fitness goals on track include starting at the level that is correct for one's present state of fitness and choosing activities that are interesting. Starting too aggressively makes one prone to injury, and that won't help at all. At the beginning stages, one can do simple things that are enjoyable and practical such as various standing activities, ironing, cooking a meal and playing a musical instrument. When that level of fitness is achieved, one can then build up to a light activity level that includes slow walking, garage work, house cleaning and so on. From there, when one is ready, one can begin more moderate-intensity exercise including faster walking, weeding the garden and cycling.

Gym memberships are nice, but one can still be quite fit by just keeping active and using the recommendations I've given you today. Next week, I'll discuss some more ideas that can keep us on tract with our fitness goals.

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