As a kid I never liked exercise or sports. I would rather sit, read, do nothing. I really wanted to control my weight, so realized as a teenager that I needed to exercise. I did some walking, a bit of running and biking on the farm. I did not participate in high school sports, however, to my defense, very little was offered to girls in the sixties and seventies, and if something was available, it was not done well or with the same degree of importance as the boy’s sports, so that was easy to avoid.
So I cheerleaded. Don’t judge me. My choices were few for something to do and we decided we were cool. We worked pretty hard at it and got a good deal of exercise. (And we were cute at the same time.) Enough of that.
When I was in my twenties, the running craze reached me, and I read books on it, got special running shoes and was off. My first 5-K was the Chocolate Chase in Hershey, PA, where I went to PA school. I trained while studying and thought I was ready. My goal was to finish while still running. And I did! But the boxes and boxes of Hershey Kisses they gave to the runners? By the time I reached the finish line, they were all gone!
So maybe I have become a bit faster and enjoy running a 5 or 10-K now and then and can stay with the slower pack. But I love my daily runs of a steady paced three miles before I do anything else. I love that it is done for the day. (Ok, maybe I don’t love it that much.) And I take the weekends off.
I also do weights at the Y two or three times a week. I like to Zumba and do that as often as weekly, usually Saturday. I think it is good for me to keep trying new ways to exercise and have recently tried spinning, Tabata, and Yoga. Who knows what’s next?
I’m convinced that exercise is essential to good health. It does not have a huge effect on weight loss but it helps. Here’s a link to the American Heart Association recommendation for physical exercise for adults. They recommend 30 minutes of low to moderate intensity (like walking) five days a week. Vigorous exercise (like running) 25 minutes three days a week also meets their exercise goal. In addition, they recommend weight training 2 or 3 times a week. I try to comply to these guidelines and I do (except when I don’t-that’s the way it goes).
Not everyone can exercise this much. Some of you are so busy and exercise is another pressure with a goal that cannot be met. Others cannot exercise or can exercise only a little for one reason or another. When I met these situations, I tried to keep moving, even if it was not much. When our children were little I would get to exercise class only a couple times a week. I did use videos at home after the kids were in bed and that worked sometimes. (Remember, this was VHS-I’m talking way back, like Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda.)
Just walking is so good. Some of my patients could not walk very far and found it difficult to walk outside. However, they could walk inside one of our huge stores like Dan’s Supervalu, Sam’s, and Target. I encouraged them to go to one of these places everyday, whether they needed to or not. They told me they found the shopping carts helped stabilize and they could walk further. Another plus!