Exercise and wellness are intimately tied together. Truly, after quitting smoking exercise is the #1 thing you can do to improve your health on almost every level. Exercise has so many benefits, it would be labeled as a wonder drug if you could refine it, bottle it and take it as a daily pill! It is a primary recommendation for moving blood and reducing pain in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Here, take a look at the short list of what exercise can do:
So yeah, that’s the short list. There is so much more, it is dizzying, but suffice to say again - exercise is the #1 thing you can do for your health and it can help you avoid a host of other medical issues over time such as heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Yet the world of exercise can seem daunting and overwhelming. There is so much out there, what kind of exercise is best for you and how much of it do you need? Here is a quick start guide based on what I tell my patients every day.
Exercise - How Much Exercise is Enough?
Truly, any amount of exercise is good. Even 10 minutes of regular exercise can make a lasting difference in your health as the effects are so long lasting. The measureable effects of exercise in the blood stream after just 10 minutes are STILL evident over an hour later!
Regularity is key, however. I always recommend my patients try to exercise at least 3 times a week, 5 would be better and while 10 minutes of exercise is generally what I consider to be a bare minimum, somewhere between 20 and 60 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 times a week is what I believe to be ideal.
The 20 to 60 minute range gives you enough time to enter fat burning zone if weight loss is a goal, and enough time to sink in mentally for calming and focusing benefits as well. An hour of exercise can create changes in the blood stream for several hours, making the most of your sessions physically and emotionally.
Exercise - What Kind is Best for Me?
There are so many kinds of exercise out there, there is no one size fits all. Most important is finding something you enjoy. If you like it, you are more likely to stick with it. From traditional gym workouts and Zumba classes to yoga, Taiji, martial arts and free on demand TV and online workouts - there is no reason not to find something you love.
The next important thing to consider is your physical fitness level and any physical restrictions/limitations/pains. It is important to stay out of pain so as not to injure yourself. Yes, it is good to feel the muscle burn, but not good to feel any sharp ache, pain or pull that makes you feel unsafe.
...if you have knee pain, stay away from running or impact exercises like high intensity aerobics - stick with the bike, the pool, or seated yoga.
...if you have back pain, prolongued exercise in a seated position isn’t going to be your friend so stay away from seated rows and recumbant biking, try gentle yoga and swimming instead!
Next is intensity - more isn’t necessarily better. Start with a low intensity and build up to a level that feels comfortable. When trying something new, especially if you are not fit or have a history of injury, I always recommend starting with 50% of what you really want or think you should be able to do. After 2 to 3 sessions at this level, assess how you feel and add 10-20%. Continue to increase until you find a level you feel comfortable with.
Last is variety. Just like eating a variety of foods (ever heard of eating the rainbow? And I do mean FRUITS AND VEGETABLES here) is best for your nutrition, a variety of different exercise each week is good for your health. For instance:
I am also a big fan of interval or peak training instead of classic Cardio. See the Dr. Mercola article about research into this type of workout HERE. That means moderate to high intensity for about 30 seconds, then low intensity for 90, and you continue to alternate for about 20-30 minutes instead of doing consistent high cardio. Like intermittent fasting, interval or peak training has many research proven benefits on almost every level.
Check Out My Pinterest Page for More
I maintain a board of exercise tips and links on my Pinterest page - check in out if you’d like to know more! If you need more specific recommendations, please come in for a tune up. I am happy to assess your specific physical needs and suggest an exercise plan that will work for you. I have 23 years of dance, martial arts and cardio kickboxing instructor history, and also hold certified QiGong instructor status. These are combined with a storied injury history and it gives me much insight into proper exercise techniques! Please book online or email Rebecca via the Contact link at the top of the page.
Until then, enjoy the beautiful Fall weather!
#Exercise, Exercise and Wellness, How Much Exercise is Good, Exercise to Reduce Stress
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.