DR. MITCH: Your New Year's Resolution is to go exercise but how can we make that work?
One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to exercise more but most of us will have a really tough time following through. The official Canadian guidelines ask that adults get 30 minutes a day of activity that gets their heart rate up (you don't have to do it all at one time) aiming for a total of 150 minutes of moderate exercise (eg. a brisk walk) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (eg. a serious run) per week. Resolve to start with achievable goals:
-For example, take the stairs rather than the elevator. If we're talking about 15 flights of stairs, start with going up 13 flights on the elevator and walking up the last 2 and then gradually increase from there.
-If you drive, park a bit further away than you might otherwise and walk the extra distance.
-At lunch go for a walk.
-If you have grandchildren, take them for a walk or a skate or tobogganing.
The important thing is to start, then you can increase to the point where you meet the present guidelines. There is always a benefit to being active. You will sleep better, eat better and find that your attitude and energy levels have increased. If you have underlying health issues get checked out by your doc but that doesn't means you can't start as long as you begin gradually. Warning signs that you are overdoing it are feeling lightheaded (as if you might faint), severe nausea, chest pain, or excessive shortness of breath.
Things that will help to keep you on track:
1) Keep an exercise calendar listing what you've done and what's planned for the week.
2) Do an activity with someone else to keep you both motivated.
3) Check your weight weekly. It will give you an indication of how you are doing.
4) If you want to get a wearable fitness tracker, go for it. It's not necessary but they have certainly helped motivate many people who otherwise wouldn't have kept up with their exercise program.
Start with a reasonable and achievable goal and once you've achieved it move on to another. Activity and exercise should become a normal part of your life; something that you look forward to and enjoy and do without a second thought. That's the ultimate goal and it's one that we can all achieve.