You have things to do and people to see. You are tired. It’s raining… There always seems like there is a reason for why today isn’t a good day to exercise. There are even more reasons to make today a good day to get your body moving. Exercising is good for your body and your mind.
What can exercise do besides keeping you healthy and fit?
- Improve your mood and help if you are feeling depressed.
- Help you to feel less stressed.
- Make you feel happier. The chemicals that are released when you exercise, called endorphins, can give you a joyful feeling.
- Give you more energy.
- Lower your risk of getting sick with chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes or heart disease.
- Help improve learning and memory.
Have excuses? We have answers.
I don’t have enough time.
Take a couple short walks during breaks. Turn off the TV for 30 minutes. Or stretch and do exercises during commercial breaks. For example, try sit-ups, squats, use small weights, do jumping jacks, or run in place. If you are trying for 30 minutes a day, break it up into 10 minutes chunks throughout the day. The hardest part is often deciding to make it a priority.
The weather is bad.
Walk at a shopping mall, climb the stairs in your house or at work, try an exercise video, or do an exercise workout from YouTube. You don’t need to be outside to exercise. There’s plenty that you can do inside or in your own home.
I don’t feel safe walking or running in my neighborhood.
Find a friend or family member to get active with. Try group walks, walks during the daytime, or walks in a mall. Find other places in your community that you can exercise such as community centers or nearby parks. Or try working out at home.
I’m too tired.
Remind yourself that exercise will give you more energy. Plan a short 10 minute walk. Once you get started, it will probably be easy to keep going. Turn on some upbeat music to get you going. Get a friend or family member to be active with you. Find a time during the day when you feel most energized. If you are too tired in the morning or evening, try exercising during your lunch break.
I don’t want to join a gym.
You don’t need to. Many exercises can be done at your own house. You don’t need gym equipment to go for a jog or do crunches. Taking the stairs or vacuuming your house counts as exercise too.
Exercising is boring.
It doesn’t have to be. Exercise with a friend so that you have someone to keep you company. Find an activity that you enjoy to do like dancing or bike riding. Join a hustle class. Mix up your exercise routine so you don’t get tired of doing the same thing every day. Try listening to music while you work out. It can help get you going.
I like the way my body looks, I don’t need to exercise.
Exercise isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about being healthy inside and out. It can make your heart stronger. Exercising is good for your mind, not just your body. It can relieve stress, improve your mood, and give you more energy.
Here is a guide from ChooseMyPlate.gov that has 10 tips for including more physical activity in your life.
What is BMI?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height. BMI is used as a screening tool to see if there are possible weight problems for adults. It is important to remember that your weight and BMI are not the only factors related to your risk for disease.
- Having a high BMI does not always mean that a person’s extra weight is a health risk. Your doctor would be able to tell you this with more tests.
- Athletes often have a high BMI because they have a lot of muscles. Since muscle weighs more than fat, it can cause their BMI to be high.
- Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your BMI or weight.
18.5 – 24.9
25.0 – 29.9
30.0 and Above
Here is a BMI calculator from the CDC to see your BMI and your health status.
It probably seems like everyone is talking at you about physical activity, but where can you start?
Exercising weekly may seem like a lot at first, but you can start small. With your doctor’s permission, start with 10 or 20 minutes a day and build up to 30 minutes.
Here are guidelines and videos from the CDC to help you get active.
Aerobic activity or “cardio” gets your heart beating faster and makes you breathe harder.
What counts as moderate or vigorous intensity?
Moderate-intensity activity: This type of activity is enough to raise your heart rate and make you sweat. Exercising at this level means you can talk, but not sing while doing the activity.
Here are a few examples of moderate-intensity activities:
- Walking fast
- Walking up flights of stairs
- Riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills
- Pushing a lawn mower
- Hustle dance classes
- Softball, baseball, kickball
Vigorous-intensity activity: This type of activity makes you breathe hard and fast, and your heart rate goes up even higher. Exercising at this level means you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
Here are a few examples of activities that need vigorous effort:
- Jogging or running
- Zumba class and other aerobic dance classes
- Riding a bike fast or on hills
- Most competitive sports like, basketball, football or soccer
- Swimming laps
- Jumping rope
You can do moderate or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or a mix of the two each week.
Here is a chart from the CDC with examples of a week of healthy physical activity.
Muscle Strengthening Activities
Besides aerobic activity, it’s important to strengthen your muscles.
- A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight or doing a sit-up.
- 1 set is usually 8-12 repetitions.
- You should try for 1 set of muscle strengthening activities. For even more benefits, do 2 or 3 sets.
- Your last repetition of an exercise should be hard to do. This means you are getting the most out of the activity.
There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it’s at home or at the gym. Try the following exercises:
- Lifting weights. You can use can goods, heavy books, or jugs of water if you don’t have weights.
- Use your own body. Doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance (i.e., push-ups, sit ups).
- Yoga or Pilates. Check out You tube for free exercise videos from certified trainers.
Tip: Here is a muscle strengthening exercise that you can do anywhere, even when you are in the car or at work. It’s called kegel exercises.
Why should you do kegels? Strengthening these muscles now will help you for if you decide to become pregnant. It can make delivery easier and prevent problems after you give birth. Even if having a baby isn’t on your mind, kegel exercises help many women reach orgasm during sex.
How do you do a kegel? Kegel exercises involve tightening the muscles around your vagina. Tips on how to do a kegel can be found in “Exercising during Pregnancy.”
- Walk You Heart to Health: Detroit Walking Groups provides a meets ups in Northwest and Southwest Detroit call 313.593.0924 for more details
- Downtown Detroit Runners & Walkers offers a popular, free meet up of 20-40 people run or walk all over Downtown
- YMCA of Metro Detroit located in the heart of Downtown offers open family swimming hours and classes for everyone to do together
- Critical Mass is a huge gathering of Detroit bicyclists who meet monthly, at 6:30 p.m. every last Friday at the corner of Trumball/Warren
- Be Nice Yoga in Midtown Detroit offers classes that are safe for pregnant women
Tips for your partner:
Find activities that you and your partner can do together. Go for a bike ride together. Take a walk and have a picnic lunch. Go out dancing together. Date night can be more than just dinner or a movie. Get creative and get moving.
- Detroit City Futbol League: Fun and competitive, co-ed, summer soccer that puts neighborhood against neighborhood. Also gain points as a team off the field through community service. All games are in the city with happy hours following the weekly games.
- Be Nice Yoga: This Midtown yoga studio offers a variety of different yoga classes.
- Detroit’s Recreation Centers: http://visitdetroit.com/discover-the-d/128-recreation-centers-and-parks The city offers recreation center all over Detroit. Each one has a variety of activities and facilities. Find one in your neighborhood.
- Mr. Smooth’s Dance Classes: Offers dance classes for ballroom and hustle. Free ballroom classes at the MGM Casino every Thursday