Exercise is Pivotal in Disease Management

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Over two-thirds of patients would be more interested in exercising to maintain good health if they received advisement from their doctors and were given additional resources, according to a new study from the American College of Sports Medicine. And while 41 percent of physicians talk about the importance of exercise with their patients, they don’t always offer suggestions on the best ways to be physically active.

Exercise isn’t all about looking great — in fact, the benefits of exercise are far greater than fitting into your favorite pair of jeans. According to the Mayo Clinic, daily exercise can improve one’s mood, help fight chronic diseases, help manage weight, strengthen one’s heart and lungs and more.

However, possibly the hardest part of exercise is sticking with it. Often times people are discouraged when they do not see instant results from their efforts. Here are some tips from the American Heart Association that healthcare providers can suggest to their patients to keep them looking — and more importantly feeling — great!

  • Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting. Add variety. Develop a repertoire of several activities that you can enjoy. That way, exercise will never seem boring or routine.
  • Wear comfortable, properly fitted footwear and comfortable, loose-fitting clothing appropriate for the weather and the activity.
  • Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way.
  • Use music to keep you entertained.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people. Decide what kind of support you need. Do you want them to remind you to exercise? Ask about your progress? Participate with you regularly or occasionally? Allow you time to exercise by yourself? Go with you to a special event, such as a 10K walk/run? Be understanding when you get up early to exercise? Spend time with the children while you exercise? Try not to ask you to change your exercise routine? Share your activity time with others. Make a date with a family member, friend or co-worker. Be an active role model for your children.
  • Don’t overdo it. Do low- to moderate-level activities, especially at first. You can slowly increase the duration and intensity of your activities as you become more fit. Over time, work up to exercising on most days of the week for 30-60 minutes.
  • Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!
  • If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity program.
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