Being Active

Don’t Let Exercise Goals be a Barrier

Being active is vitally important to anyone’s best well-being over time.

BUT – there are many other things you can do to improve the quality of your life and your health.

Sometimes, thinking of exercise (or even increased activity) as a required or first step can get in the way of making progress. If meeting the recommended activity/exercise levels is just something that seems out of reach for you right now – or even is a goal that makes you feel overwhelmed or discouraged, put your first efforts in other directions. As your sense of well-being improves, start to bring in more activity, safely and as tolerated, as soon as you are able. Even small amounts of activity are a useful start. You can build on that.

You can make huge turnarounds in your health even if you are relatively inactive. Yes, you will make even more gains in your health as you return to a healthy level of activity. Yes, your best health goals will definitely NOT be met if you are inactive. But, thinking that you must start with exercise can be a barrier to eventually achieving your goals of better health. It can even back-fire if your push to exercise results in injury or other problems.

On the other hand – for some people, taking those first steps to being more active becomes the catalyst that leads to other changes, that leads to a health turnaround.

Be safe, be safe and be thoughtful. Be very cautious regarding acute and chronic injury. Especially if you are carrying a higher body weight and your body is not adapted to exercise, it may be prudent to be initially quite cautious in your activity goals. Developing strains, ligament, joint or muscle problems is something that can have long-term consequences.

In terms of weight management specifically, being active is very useful in helping to defend against weight gain or re-gain of lost weight. For most people, it is not the great key to losing weight. Throwing yourself at a vigorous exercise program for the purpose of losing weight is, for most people, much less helpful than you might think. (Yes, there are some genetically-lucky people who are “exercise responders”, but that is not most of us.) In terms of defending against weight gain and in terms of enjoying and preserving your best mental and physical health – you need your muscles, joints and ligaments in the best, least-damaged form possible to maintain your activity levels over the long term.

The Beast “Sedentary Living” Will Suck Your Health

Even if you are not yet “exercising” on a regular basis, you can still help your health wonderfully by avoiding prolonged periods of being sedentary.

Even if you are “exercising” on a regular basis, you can still help your health wonderfully by avoiding prolonged periods of being sedentary.

Article, January 2015, “Too much sitting linked to serious health risks and death, regardless of exercise habits: Practical tips for reducing sedentary time” from Medical News Today (site includes links to original research paper). LINK

Benefits of Even a Basic Level of Activity

1) This video is terrific.

A couple of points to consider:

  • this advice is for the general population. As soon as you consider any individual with specific health needs, often other things move into the “most important” position.
  • he is very careful, as he should be, to avoid suggesting that a person can expect to lose weight by being more active. It is true that being active can help control weight – but in the sense of helping to prevent weight gain. It also helps to limit weight re-gain in those who have lost weight. Contrary to everyone’s intuitive expectation, it has been shown time and again, by extensive research, that a healthy and sustainable physical activity program has amazingly little benefit for weight loss. There is a small portion of the population that, by genetic luck, are “good responders” to exercise. This is not true for most of us and you can’t just choose to be a responder by anything you have control over.

See Also the Page: Exercise and Body Weight  LINK



2) the Exercise Is Medicine Canada site has a list of resources.

Even a low-dose of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces mortality by 22% in adults aged ≥60 years:

— a systematic review and meta-analysis: British Journal of Sports Medicine, August 3/15  LINK to full text

Their Conclusions:

  • A dose of MVPA below current recommendations reduced mortality by 22% in older adults. (Note: MVPA is moderate to vigorous physical activity)
  • A further increase in physical activity dose improved these benefits in a linear fashion.
  • Older adults should be encouraged to include even low doses of MVPA in their daily lives.

In other words, even if the amount of moderate/vigorous physical activity did not meet current guideline amounts, still this was associated with a 22% drop in mortality.

More activity than that was associated with even more benefit.

So, don’t think that doing small amounts of moderate/vigorous activity is useless and not worth doing.

The Guidelines they were using for this study, in Britain, are:

“The Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report recommends:

  • a minimum of 150 min of moderate-intensity
  • or 75 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week,
  • or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity.”

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