It always seems like everything has great excuses for not exercising. Of course, that’s all they are–excuses. These same people will all express a clear understanding about how important exercise is for our bodies. And yet, somehow, the understanding is not enough to generate action. Many who do exercise are doing it all wrong.
I think if we had to run a survey to ask on the types of exercise, walking would be #1. This ranges from 25 year olds up to 80 year olds. In none of these patients is walking enough.
I am always loath to discourage a new patient who notes that walking is the main form of exercise that they perform, but the reality is that this is just not enough to make all that much of a difference. Oh sure–if you watch the Lipitor commercials and the fit, lean guy walking leisurely through the woods notes that diet and exercise just weren’t enough it leads one to believe that walking was the recommendation that his doctor gave him. However, the research clearly supports a different theory.
First, there is strength training. This is a required portion of your exercise routine. However, despite what Klaus the personal trainer states, you do NOT need to bench press 220 lbs 9 times your very first day in the gym. Rather, several simple, large muscle group exercises (hams, quads, biceps, triceps, abdominal, gluts, etc..) may be all you need to do. There is great diminishing returns on 2nd and 3rd sets, so, if you’re not the gym devotee, do a single set to fatigue. This does not mean that you can crank out 50 reps and still discuss politics with the guy next to you. It means that, MAYBE you could crank out that 9th rep if someone put a gun to your head. If it’s easier than that, up the weight.
And it doesn’t require weights. For me, it’s pull ups, chin ups, push ups, dips and ab roller stuff. Pretty simple and straightforward.
Next, the aerobic component.
Multiple recent studies continue to support the concept of short burst, intense aerobic activity. That means hop on your exercise bike and pedal like mad for 30 or 60 seconds and then take a one minute break. Rinse. Repeat. 6 to 10 times. And that’s it–you’re done.
This is not 2 hours in the gym people. It’s walking by your exercise bike sitting in the kitchen (great place for it, by the way–hard to miss), thinking that you’ve got 10 minutes before American Idol starts. Better yet, do it during American Idol so that at least some blood flow is making it to your brain.
A mere ten minutes several times per week can make a massive change in your health trajectory. It’s that simple. So dust off the Nordic Track, splurge on that $10 jump rope, hop on Tony Little’s Gazelle or pick up someone else’s failed New Year’s resolution treadmill or elliptical at a garage sale or off of Craigslist and get started.
Than you too can see a 36% improvement in the blood glucose running through your veins in a SINGLE EXERCISE SESSION, just like in this particular study.