“A to Z from Our Family Medicine Doctors at UT Health Northeast” column
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in the Gladewater Mirror

By: Jessica Osizugbo, MD

Hurray, winter is over! As the weather warms and the flowers bloom, take advantage of these sunny days and get outside and exercise.

Physical activity benefits everyone, both young and old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week.

That’s about 30 minutes a day of cycling or brisk walking for five days or three 25-minute sessions a day of running or aerobic dancing, such as ballroom dancing, Jazzercise, or Zumba. The CDC also recommends that you do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.

If you’re over 65, reducing the amount of time sitting in one place can help your heart, metabolism, and everyday functioning. Get up and take a 10 minute walk; three short walks a day equals 30 minutes of moderate exercise.

Remember, some exercise is still better than no exercise! Resistance training with light weights or elastic bands increases muscle mass, strength, and power. Love to swim? Aquatic exercise is another great option that’s easier on your joints.

Set realistic goals before you begin your journey to a healthier you. It’s better to start slow and steady; develop a good routine that can be consistently incorporated in your day-to-day activities. Avoid overdoing it so that you don’t injure yourself.

And don’t just make it about you; it should be a family affair! Taking a walk after dinner is not only great physical activity, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your loved ones.

Exercising doesn’t have to be boring. Be creative! If you have questions about an exercise program that would be best for you, talk to your physician or healthcare provider.