exercising couple, bikingExercising is important at every age. Studies report that, typically, adults need at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity and two days of muscle strength training every week. If that sounds unrealistic, try for 90 or 120 minutes. Any amount of exercise is beneficial.

Suzie Jeffreys, an exercise physiologist with Howard County General Hospital, suggests the goal of exercising for 30 minutes, five to seven days a week for adults in general. “Research shows even if you break up your exercise, as long as you exercise at least 10 minutes at a time, you get the same benefits.”

According to Jeffreys, physical activity not only helps control weight, but adults who do not exercise are at a greater risk for other health problems such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, heart problems and high cholesterol.

If you are an adult who is not in an exercise routine, or even if you have never exercised before, it is never too late to start. “Adults who are not accustomed to exercising can start slowly and gradually,” Jeffreys suggests. “Something is better than nothing. Start with 10 minutes, or 10 minutes twice a day, and then build from there. Though you will be tired when you start to exercise, within two weeks of regular exercise, you will have more energy.”

Make Exercise Your Norm
1. Don’t set unrealistic goals
If you’re hoping exercise will help you lose weight, remember that it didn’t take just a few weeks to put the weight on—especially for adults age 40 and older—and you may not see the results of your increase in physical activity immediately.

2. Don’t get discouraged
Instead of basing your results on your weight, which can often be discouraging, try on a pair of pants that are tight every two weeks. You will begin to see and feel a difference.

3. You don’t need a gym membership
Many people often use the lack of a membership as an excuse not to exercise. Walking is one of the best exercises, and no equipment or cost is required.

4. Walk with a purpose
When you go for a walk, don’t just stroll. Pump your arms and get your heart rate up. Push yourself to get a little winded.

5. Track your time
Get a calendar and put it where you will see it often. Put a checkmark for each day you exercise.

6. Exercise with your children
If you have young kids, get out and exercise with them. Power walk while they run around or ride their bikes.

7. Stretch after you are warmed up or after you complete your workout
You should always be warmed up before stretching to prevent injuries. For example, walk for five minutes then stretch before you do more moderate exercise.

8. Don’t have time until late?
Studies show the time of day you typically exercise may not affect your sleep. Do what works best for you.

9. Achy joints?
Exercise can actually help reduce arthritis symptoms.

10. Too busy?
Breaking up exercise into 10-minute segments throughout your day is still beneficial.

Susie Jeffreys is an exercise physiologist at Howard County General Hospital.




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