AHA: Exercise – use it or loose it

Good morning North Idaho DPC Family,

Continuing on the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7, I am going to discuss Being More Active. I am a firm believer regardless of where we are in our life, if we do not use it, we will lose it. Here in Idaho, I have heard from many of you in regards to your goals. Some of you are climbing trees, hunting elk, fishing, and enjoying the nature of our state. My goal is to keep you as fit as possible to keep being active doing the things you want.


How much should we exercise?

In that vein, The AHA recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Our children should be getting 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Moderate intensity aerobic activity means brisk walking, water aerobics, doubles tennis, or hiking. Vigorous activities include running, swimming, or cycling.

Should I lift weights?

Including muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week is ideal. While classically this has been lifting iron, there are many ways to work on strength training to include calisthenics, bands, and weights.

What if I don’t do anything right now?

I recommend starting slow with light activity three times a week. This could be a gentle walk around the block for 10 minutes. Over the next several months, increase your intensity by adding time, distance and amount or effort. As this becomes easier, continue to push yourself to your goal.

Why should we exercise?

Here are some of the big wins:

  • Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer, and some complications of pregnancy
  • Better sleep, including improvements in insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea
  • Improved cognition, including memory, attention and processing speed
  • Less weight gain, obesity and related chronic health conditions
  • Better bone health and balance, with less risk of injury from falls
  • Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Better quality of life and sense of overall well-being

Tips for success:

  • Set goals: Set realistic, achievable goals that will set yourself up for success
  • Keep going: Once you reach your goals, set new ones to continue to push yourself
  • Walk more: There are many ways to get active. Walking is a good place to start and doesn’t cost anything
  • Add it up: Find ways to move through your daily routine. Every active minute is toward your 150 minutes per week.
  • Make a habit: Do something every day at about the same time tso it becomes a regular habit.

Can you exercise too much?

Absolutely this can be pushed to extremes. If you are training for a specific goal, make sure to schedule recovery days and weeks. It is important to allow your body to recover to maximize the benefits of your exercise. Examples of over training include chronic exhaustion, non-restorative sleep, increased training injuries and lack of motivation.

If you are thinking about modifying your exercise regimen and would like some medical input, lets go ahead and make an appointment.

Spring is coming – lets get out there,

Dr. Odom

North Idaho Direct Primary Care


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