Exercise is the ONE BEST THING WE CAN DO FOR OURSELVES EVERY DAY. Exercise is any movement that will raise the heart rate.  Each person’s ability to exercise is quite different. For some, exercise must be done in a chair or bed for mobility or safety.  Others can be more aggressive.

Why do we need to exercise?

The lack of exercise is the NEW smoking and just as harmful to the body. Our bodies are made to move, not sit for long periods of time. Exercise improves our body mentally and physically.  For our brain, exercise is ‘Prozac’!  It causes the release of endorphins. These are the ‘feel good’ hormones for our brain that improves blood flow to help ‘clear our head’.  In a recent Swedish study, researchers found that exercise lowered the risk of anxiety by 60%. 

No person is without some level of toxic metals in their bodies that accumulate over a lifetime. Sweating helps the body detox from many harmful chemicals in our environment such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury which can be harmful in many body systems including nervous, endocrine, renal, musculoskeletal, immunologic and cardiovascular systems. Sweating is especially beneficial for those with renal deficiencies which is the normal pathway to remove toxins from the body.  Exercise has many physical benefits such as lowering risk of cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, sleep apnea, obesity and diabetes just to name a few.

I Can’t Afford a Gym Membership or Equipment

Exercise is FREE. No special equipment or memberships are needed. Use what you have.  Stairs are excellent exercise. Yoga and Tai Chi use the weight and balance of your own body.  A few cans of vegetables out of the pantry are great weights for strength building. 

I Don’t Have Time to Exercise

Time and intensity are important factors in exercise. Spend 5 minutes of your lunch break walking the stairs. Gradually increase speed and add weight to hands and feet. Short bursts of exercise can be as beneficial as longer sessions. Move and stretch at your workstation or home. Stand up, breathe deeply, shake, twist and stretch at least every hour or so. 

I Don’t Know How to Exercise

The internet is full of exercise ideas, some are very imaginative.  A friend recently started hula hooping which is a great core workout and fun!! Your health care provider can provide exercise educational materials.  Apps can be placed on your phone. The virtual reality world has exploded with fun ways to exercise. To keep motivated, find an exercise partner who can be physically with you or virtually.  My Fitness pal is just one example.

Exercise Makes Me Sore            

A little soreness is expected with new exercises. Start slow and gradually build up. Stretching is important.  Drink lots of water to help your body recuperate. Low sugar sports drinks may also be beneficial if exercise caused fluid loss through sweating. Soaking in a bathtub is wonderful for aches and pains. If your discomfort is worse than anticipated, give yourself time to recover and consider a different exercise that may be more suited to your health issues.

Think of health as a marathon that exercise is preparing us for. Our physical and mental endurance hinges on being in good shape.

Live Long, Live Healthy!

Dr. Julie Wood is a Nurse Practitioner and has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for more than 30 years, specializing in adults with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Office is located at 401 First Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, TN and statewide with telehealth. Dr. Wood can be reached at 931-325-5560, www.diabetesmgtassociates.com, info@diabetesmgtassociates.com.  

Articles are meant to be informative and should never replace the advice of your health care provider.