What type of person are you?

Updated: Jul 3



A) I do not exercise and my job requires me to sit most of the day.


B) I exercise, but I spend most of my day behind a desk.


C) I exercise and I remain active for most of the day.




If you are a C category, then great, it's probably the only time in life that you get a C and you should celebrate. If you are A category, pay close attention, you are doing yourself serious harm. And my favorite grade B, then you still have a lot of room to improve.


Exercise:

There is plethora of research documenting the benefits of exercise: stronger heart, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, stronger bones and muscles, lower risk of old age fragile bones (osteoporosis), improved memory and mood and reduced risk of dementia. So, exercising is one of the healthiest habits you should have or start. I will have a future blog all about exercising, but if you want to learn more about how to stat or optimize your exercising then read our comprehensive guide to exercise. The one misconception about exercise that I hear a lot in my clinic is weight loss: Doc, I go to the gym every day but I am not losing any weight. Unfortunately that is true for most of us. Unless you are a professional or serious recreational athlete who spends hours a week exercising, going to the gym or exercising for an hour a day by itself is not going to lead to any significant weight loss. Why? because you really don't burn as many calories as you think (for example, thirty minutes of running at a moderate pace burns about 300 calories, about 100 calories per 10 minutes). In addition, exercising increases your appetite, so unless you are eating high quality food and in appropriate portion sizes, exercise alone will not lead to weight loss. However, if you combine exercise with other healthy habits then it will augment your metabolism and helps with losing and keeping the weight off.


But what most people are not aware of is the rest of the day: just because you went to the gym or went for a run or bike ride does not mean you should sit and rest for the day. In fact there is evidence that exercising for less than an hour really loses its health benefits if it is not combined with remaining active:



The best benefit to your health comes from exercising and remaining active throughout the day.



Being Active:

Being active helps to boost your: metabolism, bone health, muscle strength, posture, mood and energy. If weight loss is your goal, then being physically active during the day is a great way to keep your metabolism high. Even simple brief exertions such as walking around the office or taking a flight of stairs have shown to boost your metabolism. And no, we are not talking about doing push ups and squats all day, or getting one of those walking treadmills for your office desk. What remaining active means is that instead of using every tool and technology to reduce your physical activity, try to do the opposite: use every opportunity to increase your activity. Here are a few simple examples:

  1. Instead of circling around the parking lot for the closest spot, drive to that lonely empty line of parking spots at the end of the lot. You have a whole line of spaces to choose from, you avoid the congestion of humans and cars close to the entrance, and you get to walk a little more.

  2. Need to go to the bathroom? Find one a floor up or down, that is many added steps. Which brings us to the next tip:

  3. Use the stairs. Unless you have a health ailment that prohibits you, open that lonely door next to the elevator and use those leg muscles. Our medical building has 3 floors, every morning I see a line of people waiting for the elevator, I casually walk by them and take the stairs which is next to the elevator, they all look at me like I am crazy. Why?!!

  4. Need to talk to your spouse, child, or colleague? Get up and walk to them, don't text, call or send an online chat. At work we have a live chat option, I am purposely not registered. This way we have to walk and talk to each other.

  5. Talking on the phone? Stand and walk around.

  6. Have a desk job? Invest in a standing desk and stand half the day. Here is a less expensive option I purchased for my work (they go on sale quite often).

These are just a few simple measures you can use to increase your activity throughout the day. Simple, efficient and productive. Now if you want to get even more creative you can set some challenges for yourself. A patient of mine does 5 squats every hour. I challenged her to add 5 push ups as well.





So, to recap,:

  • continue exercising, or start exercising. For some help on how to make the best of your time and improve your cardiovascular, muscle and core strength read our comprehensive guide on exercising or send me an email (editor@healthierlifemd.com) for more personal advice.

  • In addition to exercising, you must remain active throughout the day to be healthy. Use simple measures to increase your activity level.


To get started make yourself a list of actions you will take. Start with just a couple: I will park my car far and take the stairs for up to 3 floors. As you get better add more changes. Having a list of specific actions to start makes you accountable and is more likely to succeed. After all this is a significant lifestyle change, and like all habits, it may be hard to break. But once you see the benefits and how much better you feel, you will be much more motivated to maintain your new, active lifestyle.


To learn more visit HealthierlifeMD.com





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