Exercise has a multitude of health benefits for our body, mind, and spirit. This becomes more and more important as we age.
Some of the benefits are:
⦁ Heart health: increases circulation, lowers blood pressure
⦁ Reduces risk of diabetes and helps to manage diabetes
⦁ Reduces risk of developing Alzheimers
⦁ If you already have Alzheimers it helps to slow it's progression
⦁ Promotes energy, quality rest, and sleep
⦁ Helps maintain a healthy weight
⦁ Helps manage stress
⦁ Helps alleviate mild to moderate depression
We've all heard this before and yet, how many of us actually stick to a regular exercise plan? I want to tackle the excuses for not exercising.
Here are a few common excuses:
⦁ I have bad knees
⦁ I have arthritis
⦁ I am too tired
⦁ I am too busy
⦁ It's too cold, it's too hot, it's raining, it's windy, it's.....you get the idea
⦁ I don't want to go walk alone
⦁ I don't want to exercise with other people
⦁ I don't have the money for a gym membership
⦁ on and on and on with the excuses
Let's deal with a few of these and maybe we can see the big picture:
⦁ Bad knees: Even with bad knees (and I have one) there are things we can do to exercise. We can walk for a short distance, sit for a bit and get up and walk for another short distance. Any walking we can do, will help our knees get stronger. If you can't walk, then do exercises in a chair, against a wall, or in water. Water is easy on the joints. There are tons of exercise we can do that don't require walking. Bad knees are not an reason to not exercise.
⦁ Arthritis: Most experts agree that some movement is good for arthritic joints.
"A decade or two ago, when people had an arthritis flare-up, we treated them with aspirin and told them not to get out of bed until it got better. Now we know it's much better for people to remain as active as they can,” says Kim Huffman, MD, PhD, an expert in muscles, activity, and arthritis at the Duke University Medical Center. (Courtesy WebMD.com)
Experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend water-based exercises (walking in a pool, swimming, any type of movement in water), Tai Chi, and Yoga. These exercises can be easy on joints while providing the movement needed to alleviate pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
⦁ Too Tired: If someone told you they would pay you $50,000, tax free, and all you had to do was walk three miles, would you do it? Of course you would at least try and I imagine the motivation of receiving $50,000 would almost insure your completion. Think of your heart, joints, blood sugar, your life as just as important as money. What good is a lot of money if you don't live long enough or are physically unable to enjoy it? Research has found and I know this to be true, that the more you move, the more energy you have. Yes, we get tired after we walk a mile, but after the recovery period of a few minutes, we have more energy than we did when we started.
We could go through every excuse and as you can see, we can find research that proves our excuses wrong. If something is keeping us from exercising (moving) then we need to find out the facts and do what we can to find a way around it. ( NOTE: No one should pursue a new exercise plan without a clearance from your doctor). We want to move more so we can live longer, but we also want to be wise in the choices we make to accomplish this. Your doctor can help you with this if you have health issues.
Finally, I want to leave you with this ENCOURAGING statement, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic website:
"Fortunately, it is within our power to combat this natural process of muscle loss. With exercise and an active lifestyle, we can begin to bring some muscle back. And the really good news is that exercise can help at any age. Several studies have compared people between 70 and 80 years old with people 20 to 30 years old engaging in the same regimen: a strengthening exercise program with weight lifting for 12 weeks. Researchers evaluated the participants' strength before and after the program and found that the amount of strength gain in both groups was similar, despite their age difference. So it is never too late, or too early, to work on protecting your muscle mass." http://mayocl.in/1PUpjgg
Do you exercise as much as you should? Do you make excuses? If you do exercise, what type do you do? Do you have physical limitations that prevent you from doing certain types of exercise? Let's start a discussion, maybe you can help someone else.