If you knew something was available to help you reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and a host of other illnesses, would you take it?
Awesome! Well then have I got some titillating news for you: Something like that does exist!
It’s called E-X-E-R-C-I-S-E.
Exercise is such a powerful prescription that it even helps cancer patients reduce their side effects from treatments and their risk for cancer recurrence, as you can read more about in this WebMD news article by Moira Dower. (Quick disclosure: I work for WebMD.)
So, if exercise is such a super drug, why aren’t more doctors prescribing it and why aren’t more people taking it?
What Is Exercise?
Well, for starters, most doctors actually do tell us to exercise if we’re overweight, but that’s about as far as the conversation goes. For many of us, if our blood pressure or cholesterol levels are high, the doctor recommends that we eat less and move more. The doctor also typically follows that with a barrage of prescription medications to choose from that will help us lower our blood pressure or cholesterol levels.
Now before you take the path of least resistance and hop on the statins bandwagon, stop and consider: What picture comes to mind when you hear the word exercise?
Do you visualize Olympic athletes sprinting down a track? A group of kids playing volleyball on the beach? Sculpted men and women grunting and lifting weights at a gym?
Don’t fall victim to the notion that exercise equals sports.
Too often people think exercise has to be a grueling, sweat-dripping, breath-stealing marathon session. If your goal is to be on a professional sports team or look like Jillian Michaels, then yes, that’s probably what your workouts should look like. If your fitness goal is just to be healthy, it’s time to redefine your definition of exercise.
Did you notice in the news article that the medical officers included activities like “heavy cleaning” and “mowing the lawn” as exercise?
That’s right, half the time, exercise is crap you have to do anyway.
The other half of the time, think about activities you enjoy that don’t revolve around eating or drinking with friends. (Because I know that’s hard for me, here are a few examples):
- Playing outside with your kids
- Walking the dog
- Cooking that requires a lot of prepping and chopping
- Getting sexy with your significant other
For more fun exercise ideas, see this slideshow on Self.com.
The more you learn to make exercise fun and simple, the easier it becomes to make it part of your daily prescription for a long, healthy and happy life.
What are your favorite fun, easy exercises?