Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Best Exercise Rx

Situation:  Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve always been involved in sports and have exercised. But when I  reached my fortieth
birthday, I realized  I needed  to start watching what I ate. I still want to keep exercising, but with a family and a stressful job, its getting harder to find the time. How much exercise each day is best? I’ve seen all sorts of numbers—30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes. Please clarify.

Strategies: Although it may seem that there are a lot of different recommendations for time spent exercising, the confusion lies in believing that being active has only one benefit, and thats not the case. The key is knowing what you expect to achieve with your aerobic exercise regimen and then staying active enough to reach that objective. There are three general benefits that exercise can achieve: health benefits, such as improved mood and blood pres- sure control; weight loss (in combination with a reduction of food intake); and the prevention of weight gain after a substantial weight loss. The health benefits are obtained with 30 minutes of moderate activity on most (preferably all) days of the week. Weight loss is observed with 45 to 60 minutes. And long-term mainte- nance of weight loss is associated with levels of 1 hour or more. Knowing what  you’ll be getting  fro 
the time you invest in exercise can help you frame your expectations. And if the hour a day seems impossible right now, dont despair! Finding 30 minutes in your calendar now is the first and most important step. Master that, and you may be surprised by what you’ll be able to do in the future. One final recommendation: rather than seeing time with your family as a barrier to exercise, why not turn it into an oppor- tunity? Family activities—from weekend hikes to evening walks to shooting hoops in the back yard—are a terrific way to spend time with the kids, and everyone in the family benefits from the exercise.

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