First, stop saying you have no time to exercise
It’s the top excuse I hear from patients when I suggest they get moving. But you do have enough time; what you really need is motivation. Too often people think of exercise in black or white categories: “30 minutes” or “no minutes”. In reality, any minutes of movement are better than none. Here are some of my favourite tricks to get patients started on an exercise routine.
Don’t ignore exercise
It’s powerful medicine for your heart and arteries. It strengthens your cardiovascular system, allowing the heart to pump more blood with less effort. It keeps your arteries elastic and flexible, which allows them to expand to accommodate blood flow, which reduces blood pressure. It makes your tissues more sensitive to insulin, which means cells throughout your body more easily absorb and burn blood sugar for energy. It helps lower levels of triglycerides, tiny packages of fat that float around in the bloodstream. Exercise also helps tamp down inflammation and prevents blood clotting, which can lead to stroke, heart attack and other problems. Finally, exercise creates physiological changes in the brain that lead to an increased sense of wellbeing, confidence and an improved mood.
Don’t like traditional exercises? Childhood hobbies can double as kilojoule-burning workouts.
Take a 15-minute walk
It’s true that it is often recommended that we plan at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, which is 2.5 hours of a heart-pumping activity. But if you can’t always meet this goal, should you do none at all? No. Less activity than the guidelines is still beneficial. Even a 15-minute walk will bring you some health benefits. What’s most important is this: get started.