3 Step Process to Exercise
Hi, I’m Dr. Craig Primack from Scottsdale Weight Loss Center. Today’s medical minute is a concept that I think we should all be paying attention to, which is movement.
As you may have heard, sitting is the new smoking. That’s not exactly true, but if there’s one thing you can do in the past that was best for our health, it was quitting smoking, and now it’s more movement. Getting from being a sedentary person to moving is the secret. It’s actually the best, we’ll call it, the best bang for our buck. If you’re currently very sedentary and we just get you moving even five or 10 minutes a day, preferably even five or 10 minutes an hour, we’re going to give you the most benefit. The second most benefit is then taking your five or 10 minutes and making it 15 or 20, eventually 20 or 30, and maybe even more.
So I have a way, because when you hear recommendations, a lot of people say, “Let’s do 150 minutes a week. Let’s get you up to 300 minutes a week of exercise.” And if you’re currently not doing much exercise at all, that recommendation is daunting. It’s really hard.
So I have a three-step process to help you get up to your exercise goals.
The first step is frequency. We need to take exercise or movement and start doing it regularly to develop a habit. Let’s aim for four or five or six days a week. So if five or six days is the recommendation, even 10 minutes of walking, go down to the end of the block and come back. That is beneficial for you. But now I want you to do it again tomorrow, and again tomorrow after that, and most days of the week, let’s aim for five or six.
The second goal in movement is intensity. If you are walking, it’s the speed of your walking. So still do 10 minutes. Let’s make it a little bit faster. If you were on a treadmill, always start with one degree of elevation, and let’s take your one degree of elevation and now make it two degrees of elevation, but still, again, doing the 10 minutes or so that we started with. But again, five or six days a week.
And the third, the third key component of that is now duration. So let’s take our 10 minutes and make it 15 minutes, five or six days a week. We’ve now built up a habit. We are finding the time to do our exercise. Again, it really doesn’t matter which exercise you’re doing. Walking is very common. Most of us can do that on a regular basis. It can be a bicycle or a stationary bicycle. It can be on a treadmill. We can be swimming. We can actually be walking in our pool or many, many other exercises. It’s really the ones that you enjoy. The exercise you enjoy is the one that you should be doing.
Once your duration is at 15 minutes, let’s get it up to 20 minutes. Let’s get 20 minutes up to 30 minutes. If you’re doing something for 20 or 30 minutes a day, six days a week, you are most likely hitting your exercise goals. If you’re enjoying it, let’s slowly push it up when we can to 45 minutes.
The whole goal in movement is just that: movement. It is not just as people say all the time to burn calories. Burning calories is a very small component of the benefits that exercise is giving to us.
So a quick summary. For movement, number one, we want frequency. How often? Number two, intensity. How hard is it and such, even keeping our numbers for length small? And then the third is length. Let’s get it going for longer and longer periods throughout the day, an exercise that you enjoy and that you feel good doing.