Let’s Get This Body Started – Easing into a fitness program that works for you
Getting started on a fitness routine can be a daunting task, especially if you believe that it requires an hour every day at a gym. It’s time to rethink that and ease your way into an exercise program that works for you. In fact, the gym is not necessarily the right place for everyone – and you’re hearing that from a lifelong fitness club owner.
Statistics don’t even support the idea that the gym is the ultimate workout venue. In the 1980s, less than 8% of the population belonged to a health club and less than 10% of those members went to the gym regularly. In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, yoga, Pilates, Barré, and Crossfit studios exploded onto the scene. Gym memberships included access to spa facilities, cafes, group classes, and pools. Clubs went from small, sweaty, cement closets to resort-style facilities at which you could spend an entire day exercising, eating, and getting pampered from head to toe. Still, that did not increase club patronage significantly. Why? Well, the answer begs the question: Do I need to belong to a gym or health club to reach optimal fitness levels? The answer is an encouraging “No, you don’t.”*
In the mid-90s, I wanted to create a way for parents to ease workouts into their hectic days. I didn’t want their fitness routines to hinge on access to a gym. I came up with my 60-second workout program. Yes, you heard me: 60-second workout. It went like this, if you were a stay-at-home parent and the baby finally went down for a nap, you could do one minute of lunges or weightless squats, stretches, or pushups. If you were at the office and were about to take a break, you could do the same exercises in your office, cubicle, or in the parking garage. The focus was on movements that could be done anywhere in a short amount of time.
At the time I introduced it, my idea had more critics than believers because people doubted that 60 seconds could make a difference in anything. We fitness experts were taught that people needed to exercise for 50 minutes or longer, three times a week to reap any benefit. But, that’s not true. All exercise is beneficial and daily exercise doesn’t need to be done all at once. You can do a 10-minute walk in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes after dinner. And, walking with a friend or loved one can make it not feel like exercise at all. Play catch, sit on the floor and stretch, or flex your muscles and release them just sitting in place. There are thousands of home exercise programs you can follow online. Simple apps will open up a world of exercises that you can you in the privacy of your own home. It’s all good but, don’t take my word for it.
A New York Times article published April 27, 2016 summarized the results of a study done by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The study compared short, interval training to standard workouts. It concluded “…One minute of arduous exercise was comparable in its physiological effects to 45 minutes of gentler sweating.” (Their full results have been published at PLOS One.) Less can be more in this instance and that seems to resonate with a lot of people.
So, now that we know how long you need to exercise, just how often do you need to exercise? Not every day, that’s for sure. Your body needs a break between exercising its muscles. Activity tears down your muscles and your body repairs itself during your “off” days. The secret to a healthy body is consistency and regularity. Consistency means 3 – 4 times per week and regularity is doing it the same time of day.
The nugget of truth is all this is that you just need to move. Move your body whenever possible. And, don’t brush off all the little things you do during the day that you may not consider exercise like doing the dishes, making the bed, cleaning the counters, doing the laundry, vacuuming the house, or doing yard work. I call these things “passive exercise” and they all count. In fact, the new wrist gadgets have made companies a fortune helping people track this kind of exercise. The thing about exercise is that all kinds of activities can improve our health and one size does not fit all. You have to find something you enjoy. Most people have to like something to stick with it, me included.
As an important aside, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting your hormone levels checked before you start a fitness program. Hormones touch all the cells in our bodies and to receive the maximum benefit from nutrition, fitness, and overall health, it is important to keep them at optimized levels. (BioTE® Medical is my choice.)
The simplest way to ease into a fitness program is to find something you like and get moving right where you are! Once you take the first “getting-started” step, it is amazing how much easier and more enjoyable the next ones can be.
Here’s to a Better You,
Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show
CBS KRLD 1080 am
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*It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. And, getting your hormone levels optimized with BioTE® can be an important factor in your overall health.
BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit www.biotemedical.com