Week 2 Resources
The ABC's of Exercise
Walk to Better Health
healthy and fit isn’t a fad or a trend—it’s a lifestyle.
2 is all about getting your exercise game on. If you’ve been diligent about exercising regularly, that’s great.
If not, now’s the time to get going. The key with exercise is to set mini goals that are within your current fitness
ability and physical limitations. Once you reach a goal, pat yourself on the back and set a new goal. This is how you will
continue to improve your health and fitness from where you are today to where you would like to be.
Exercise is a game changer. It changes your body in many seen and even more unseen ways for a better
you. When you exercise regularly, your body functions better. Your muscles get stronger, your blood pumps more efficiently,
energy production is boosted and you are able to do more and more. But it’s not that simple. Here are some pretty amazing
things that we know regular exercise does for you:
To sum it up, regular exercise
has a positive impact on almost every aspect of your health. It reduces your risk for heart disease, hypertension, type 2
diabetes, colon and breast cancer, depression, osteoporosis, sleep disorders, cognitive decline, obesity, and arthritis. It
improves mood and energy level.
Exercise is Your Next Step
We start the On Track program with exercise because once you feel better, sleep better, reduce stress and have more
energy, you’re a lot more likely to be able to make healthier food choices.
Muscles: Use them or lose them
Right now some of you are thinking that you don’t like to exercise or you don’t
have time to exercise. The problem is that if you fail to make regular exercise an integral part of your life, you will miss
all of its benefits. Not only that, but once you achieve the health-boosting weight loss from bariatric surgery, your health
will stagnate at that point. Yes, you’ll have drastically improved your health, but it won’t continue to get better
and better. And then it will begin to decline. Without health-boosting exercise in your life, the aging process will cause
your muscles to atrophy, your bones to become weak and brittle, your arteries to decay, and inflammation to surge—is
that what you really want?
You are starting at your own unique fitness level. You will want to build your exercise program
from that starting point. Most will not train and run a marathon or compete in athletic events nor is that needed to reap
the benefits of exercise. There is an exercise program for just about everybody out there and we’ll talk about some
of the options in the next section. The important thing when you start is to well, start. Starting is the hardest part. Start
slow, but be consistent. Don’t hurt yourself by pushing too hard, but also don’t lollygag. It’s always a
good idea to run your exercise plan by your doctor before you get started to make sure there are no concerns.
Plan to exercise six days a week. You don’t need to do the same exercise
each day—it’s actually better if you mix it up. Aerobics 3-4 days and strength training, core exercises and flexibility
2-3 days is a balanced plan. Think about time and weather constraints. A back-up plan is a must. It’s crucial
to give exercise priority and set aside regular time. If not, other activities will take precedence. If you get into a routine,
exercise will become as automatic as brushing your teeth.
exercise, often referred to as cardio, is the cornerstone of most exercise programs. Aerobic exercise helps your heart, lungs
and blood vessels transport oxygen more efficiently throughout your body. It includes any physical activity that uses large
muscle groups and increases your heart rate like walking, jogging, biking, swimming, dancing, and water aerobics.
If you have physical limitations, think
outside the box. You can look for chair exercises online, swim or walk in the water, or use an exercise peddler while watching
TV. You may want to work with a physical trainer or physical therapist to design a program that fits your needs.
For most healthy adults, the Department
of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (brisk walking or the equivalent).
Strength training is another key component
of an exercise program. At least 2 times per week is recommended to increase bone and muscle strength. Strength training can
come from various resistance machines, free weights, resistance bands or your own body weight (push ups, sit-ups, squats).
Give your muscles a day off between strength training sessions to recover and build muscle.
Core exercises focus on the muscles in your abdomen, lower back and pelvis. Building up your core
muscle strength and flexibility cranks up the power for every move your body makes; it also enhances balance and stability
and protects you from injury. A core exercise uses the trunk of your body without support, like abdominal crunches.
Stretching exercises improve flexibility, improve range of motion in your joints,
promote better posture, and can even help relieve stress. The best time to stretch is after you exercise when your muscles
are warmed up.
There are lots of options
to track your exercise. It can be steps taken, time, weights and reps, or classes completed. If you’re using a tracking
app or website, it should allow you to add in different types of activities. Although you started tracking last week, you
may need to make some adjustments as you add in exercise.
If you are tracking steps, increase the number of steps that you take a day by about 1000 steps a week until you reach
a goal of 10,000-15,000 steps a day consistently. A mile is approximately 2,000 steps.
To Sum it Up
Regular exercise will set
off a cascade of changes and signals that will help you to become healthier. Rather than deteriorate, you will set your health
up for continuous improvement. Your metabolism will change and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will become easier.