Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

How’s this for motivation?

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There’s a never ending parade of studies examining the positive effects of exercise, but here’s one that actually looked at the benefits of exercise to extend life, even if one is overweight. It was determined that a brisk 20 minute walk each day could be enough to reduce an individual’s risk of early death, according to new research published in the clinical  – See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/lack-of-exercise-responsible-for-twice-as-many-deaths-as-obesity#sthash.p1IINMdO.dpuf

It was found that even 20 minutes of activity a day- a short, brisk walk- which may burn only about 100 calories can have substantial benefits for long term health, especially as we age. This is not a free pass to overeat and throw the BMI index out the window, but it is a more realistic look at how moving about on a consistent basis can reduce health risks.

Being in a sedentary job is one instance of how easy it is to fall into a trap of not moving enough. If you take a half hour walk during the day you can make a sizable difference in your health. If you’re lucky enough to have a job that requires lots of movement, you may already have it covered, even if the activity isn’t aerobic. You’ve probably heard by now that being sedentary for long periods is the like the new “tobacco” for your health. Standing desks, once thought to be somewhat eccentric, now are really gaining steam. In a future post, I’ll discuss workplace innovations in more detail. For now, back to the topic at hand – making that jump to walking daily or at least 5 days a week. Here are a few ways to make sure it happens:

  • don’t ask yourself “if” it will happen each day, ask yourself “when,or at what time,” will I take my walk?
  • make sure it’s accessible and likely to succeed – walk from your house, to and from work, or at your lunch hour
  • lengthen the walks that you would do anyway- park further away from your destination so you can extend your walking time
  • get a walking buddy- please email me if you are interested in beginning walking- I have a lot of people in my practice who would walk more if they had a walking buddy, and I’m happy to organize a data base for you
  • start small and reasonably- schedule a walk 3 times a week, for 20 minutes, then build up
  • use your own body clock and preferences to determine the best time for your walk- are you a morning person, or would you rather walk after all your important things are done for the day? Do you enjoy the heat of the afternoon, or are you better when it’s cooler earlier in the morning, or in the evening?
  • Keep an exercise log to motivate you and make sure you keep up the routine- there are many free smart phone apps that keep a record of your progress- Map my run (program it for any activity you do), fitness buddy and fitness pal are ones I use that are easy to manage
  • Use websites that can be helpful to keep you on track- sparkpeople.com, thedailyburn.com,  http://www.primusweb.com/fitnesspartner/. There’s an excellent website for goal setting called http://www.stickk.com/ that focuses exclusively on motivation and goal setting with an on-line community.

Stay tuned for more tips on getting motivated and doing that daily half hour of exercise – no excuses!

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