Exercise— some people love it, many don’t.
While the evidence is indisputable that exercise has numerous health benefits such as (partial list);
- improved cardiovascular function
- stronger muscles, joints and bones
- leaner body mass
- better sleep
- improved cognition
some people still refrain from doing exercise because, well, it’s just not that important to them or they don’t like the feeling of “suffering” that comes with exercise.
They envision the “torture” of gasping for air while running. They abhor the thought of burning muscles while doing an aerobics class or lifting weights. That, understandably, is good motivation to just take it easy.
Perhaps as a compromise, the non-exercisers take a short walk in the evening.
To me, if you don’t exercise regularly; that is, reach your maximum heart rate* or get close to it at least 2-3 times a week via demanding body movements, then you are missing a simple, effective, and free way to improve your health. This is bad, and has consequences. Many people don’t give it a second thought to pay a $20 co-pay for a doctor’s appointment, and don’t give any thought at all to do a workout “for free.” In both cases, this is exchanging your personal time to tend to your health– right? Which of the two do you think will give your body a better net improvement in health: 20 minutes talking to your doctor and receiving a prescription for a symptom, or 20 minutes of great exercise?
*Maximum heart rate: males – 202-[.55 x Age]; females 216-[1.09 x Age]
If you fit in the category of folks who are averse to the thought of exercising, I have an alternative for you.
You see, new research shows that even short duration exercises, when done regularly, can have the same benefit as a 60 or more minute workout. And, they don’t have to be that rigorous and unpleasant.
Can you spend just 15-20 minutes to exercise, just a couple of times a week? Think about it; you probably spend twice that much time checking your email every day; or surfing the web.
Here is a quick, 15 minute routine you can do any time during the day; even at work:
- 60 seconds running in place
- 20 trunk rotations (10 clockwise; 10 CCW)
- 50 jumping jacks
- 20 side squats + arm raises
- 20 lunges
- 20 push-ups
- 60 second plank
- 20 mountain climbers
- 50 crunches
That’s it; shouldn’t take much more than 15 minutes including some short rests. Just wipe yourself off with a wet towel, and resume your day.
Do this the same time on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday (or all days) to make it a routine, and you’ll see how easy it is to fit exercise into your schedule. But best of all, you will notice how much better you feel each day.
In summary, if you do not exercise regularly, you are missing a powerful, proven and inexpensive way to improve your health and extend your life. You’ve got to find a way to do it. One way is to make exercise fun and convenient. Understand that short exercise sessions will get the job done, and you get about the same benefit than longer ones. But don’t cut corners; you do need to generate a bit of sweat and breathe harder to make sure you are getting cardio and muscle strength benefit.
Give it a try– just go for it and don’t look back.