Regular readers know that I feel very strongly about exercising regularly. Eat less; move more; live longer is the mantra of this blog. So, I was thrilled to receive a Mayo Clinic Newsletter from Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. So many people think about exercise as an adjunct to dieting to lose weight. Wrong. You need to exercise to stay generally healthy and also to maintain a healthy body weight. You don’t stop after you reach your goal weight.
Here’s what the good doctor had to say, “If you exercise regularly, you may lower your risk of a heart attack and stroke. If you are middle-aged or older and haven’t been exercising regularly or have a chronic health problem, work with your doctor to develop an exercise program.
“To condition your heart safely:
• Start at a comfortable level of exertion — Try walking five to 10 minutes over a short distance indoors. Increase your time by five minutes a session as you’re able.
• Schedule regular exercise — Aim for 30 to 60 minutes a day of low- to moderate-intensity physical activity.
• Include variety — Combine three types of exercise — stretching (flexibility), endurance (aerobic or cardio) and strengthening (weight training). Start each session with a warm-up of lower intensity, and cool down gradually. Mind-body exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, may provide even greater benefits.
• Cross-train to reduce your risk of injury — Alternate among exercises that emphasize different parts of the body, such as swimming, bicycling and walking.
• Don’t overdue it — Start slowly and build up gradually, allowing time between sessions for your body to rest and recover. And forget the saying “No pain, no gain.” A little muscle soreness when you do something new isn’t unusual, but soreness doesn’t equal pain. If it hurts, stop doing it.
• Increase your physical activity — Even routine activities such as gardening, climbing stairs or washing floors can burn calories and help improve your health. You’ll get the most benefit from a structured exercise program, but any physical movement helps. Walk or bike to the store instead of driving, park farther away at the shopping mall or take the stairs instead of taking an elevator.”
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