An exercise program is important, but it would be foolish for me to suggest that there is one particular way to exercise that is better above all the others (that is, an ideal exercise). One thing I always tell my patients is that everybody is a little bit different and sometimes the traditional rules do not always exactly apply. Some modifications must always be made to adjust to the needs of each patient.
This is true not only in medicine and in my daily practice, and it is true in life in general.
Everyone is a little bit different, but still, there are certain general principles which are important that can help you find your perfect exercise routine. I am just going to go through a quick list here which I think you should consider.
There are probably many more other considerations as well, and if you would like to share them, please do. The more group suggestions the merrier. Ultimately, it is important, above all things, to like your exercise routine. That is the sine qua non, without a doubt. Exercise si supposed to be fun. It’s okay to find fun things to do you like to do!
- Any exercise program should be safe to do, meaning that if you are on certain medications or you have certain conditions such as a heart arrhythmia, playing a sport like basketball may not be your best bet. It could be dangerous! There are many young athletes (mostly basketball players) who have died because of a heart condition called hypertrophic subaortic stenosis most notably Hank Gathers of Loyola Marymount is one of thesefatalities, but if you have diabetes or have to suffer a stroke or heart attack you should always check with your doctor and understand your physical limits to exercise so you do not make things worse as exercise can be dangerous.
- You should spend a little money but do not spend a lot of money and do not think that the money will do the actual work for you. Every winter people fall into the trap saying that ‘if I just join a health club that will motivate me to do the work.’ Ultimately, you motivate yourself to do the work. Now, that does not mean you should not invest in a nice little weight set or a comfortable stationary bicycle or a set of kettlebells or jump rope or even a nice all in one gym set for your house. If you use it and you like it and you can afford it, then go for it. Invest a little bit in your own health to find your own sweet spot, a lot of things which you can do. Find cheap exercises to do such as running, sprinting, doing calisthenics, pushups and may be even doing your chores like doing your lawn under a certain period of time.
- Make your exercise convenient. If it takes you 15 minutes to get to the health club and back that is 30 minutes you could spend working out in your own home. May be you just want to spend 30 minutes doing something else rather than traveling to and fro and getting changed and unchanged at the health club. Likewise, daily activity is important but daily strenuous activity is not recommended. You should work out intensively a few times a week, but not on back to back days unless you are a high-level athlete or you are training for something like a triathlon. In this case, it may be important to stack strenuous days, but likewise, it is important to rest and allow your muscles the time to rebuild. You will feel rejuvenated and have a better work out if you take off a day or two
- Do not forget walking is a form of exercise. Sometimes when you do not feel like doing anything, just dropping on the headphones and going for a nice four mile walk with clear your mind will make you feel better and allow you to sort out things in your head. Try it even though it seems like an ‘old man exercise’. When you work out strenuously make it progressively strenuous. Start at slow and fast and then cool down. Don’t just stop cold. The stuff you learned about exercising in seventh grade during gym class still applies.
- Ideal exercises included the goals of building muscle mass, balance, agility, flexibility, strength and endurance. Most people just think as they losing weight and building muscle mass, but strength, endurance, balance, agility and flexibility are important especially at your age. So many people in the later decades die because of falls, not simply because they are diabetics, with old ladies who had hip fractures have a very high incidents of mortality and there are a lot of people who at their age who fall in their home and around their home, down the stairs and what not would sustain very serious injuries. Do not forget balance, agility and flexibility are very important. Try yoga class. I love this Bikram yoga aka is hot yoga and it is very relaxing and feels very detoxifying. Try it out if you are healthy enough to do it. And don’t forget to include aerobic and anaerobic exercises. You know, nobody likes running, at least me, but it is important to find something where you can really give your cardiovascular system a boost (maybe biking, cross country skiing?) But do not make cardiovascular training your only exercise. Mix it up. that’s the key! Lift weights or do pushups or something that will be a form of resistance training to help build lean body mass.
These are all important aspects of an effective exercise program. Find your sweet spot and goal and you will have success over the long term and not only that you will have a lot of fun.