Simple “Movement:” The Key to Lasting Health

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

August 29, 2019

Most of my patients HATE the thought of exercise.

They even hate the word exercise. So, basically, telling them they need to exercise is like telling them they need to be “exorcised!”

Yup…exercise / exorcise…pot-ay-to / pot-ah-to…both equally horrible for many.

But really, we can replace this terrible word with another word that is easier to swallow…“move.”

Just move.

Movement is truly the key to life. In fact, if you go too long without movement, they’ll come along, dig a hole, and bury you.

So let’s talk a bit about what types of “movement” you can do to keep your body and mind fit for years to come.

The Easiest Way to Get “Moving”

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First of all, any movement you can do on a daily basis is better than sitting on your behind. So, I’m not going to say you need to move so many minutes each day or week.

But I will make some recommendations.

Normally, I tell my patients to pick a direction and walk in a straight line for about 20 minutes. Usually people smile, knowing they need to then walk back another 20 minutes to return home.

If you really wanted, you could hitchhike back home (still legal in 44 states), but these days walking is probably easier and safer.

HIIT and LISS Workouts

Another popular type of workout is called high intensity interval training or HIIT.

This is a way to achieve total fitness – a robust heart and lungs, strong muscles, superior brain power and a slender physique – in as little as 15 minutes a day.

HIIT and LISS Workouts

Another popular type of workout is called high intensity interval training or HIIT.

This is a way to achieve total fitness – a robust heart and lungs, strong muscles, superior brain power and a slender physique – in as little as 15 minutes a day.

HIIT exercise gets your heart and lungs pumping, delivers more oxygen-rich blood to your brain and other organs, builds real muscle strength and boosts your fat-burning capacity.

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Depending on your current level of fitness, I’d say you should dedicate between 15 minutes and a half hour towards it each day.

Now, getting started is simple. Just be sure to check with your doctor before starting any type of new exercise program, especially if it’s been a few years…you may want to start slowly.

HIIT involves quick bursts of high intensity exercise followed by short recovery breaks. And it doesn’t matter what condition you’re in to start.

For example, after warming up for a few minutes, walk briskly or sprint as fast as you can for 30 – 40 seconds. (Your speed will depend on your fitness level. If you can’t sprint, don’t. If you can, then go all out. The idea is to push yourself, but not beyond your capabilities.)

Then, follow up with 2 to 4 minutes of easy walking. Repeat 4 to 6 times. The workout ends with a 3 to 4 minute cool-down.

As it becomes easier, try increasing the intensity and shortening your rest time. (i.e., a 30 second full-out burst, followed by lesser and lesser minutes of easy walking.)

Maybe you’re thinking, “There’s no way I’m going to do that!”

Then this type of exercise is a bit too much. Instead, try some low-intensity steady state exercise or LISS. (Yes, exercise people love their acronyms.)

Start low and slow. Take your time to warm up, stretch, and do some gentle walking like I’ve already described. Remember, 20 minutes in a single direction…then walk back.

When you’re feeling better, doing better with your walks, and eating better, you can begin to move to the next level of HIIT workouts.

Personally, I like to go to the gym, do my stretches (and the few yoga positions I’m comfortable with)on the mats and after, lift light weights on the machines with high repetitions. Then, I enjoy walking on the treadmill, playing my favorite songs on my phone with a beat matching 3.0-3.5 miles/minute…”Sweet dreams are made of this” by the Eurythmics is my go to song to make the time fly by.

Exactly How “Fit” Are You?

If you’d like a simple test to measure your own personal fitness level, try this…

Sit it a chair with your arms held out straight in front of you. Then, try to stand without using the armrests for help.

If you have trouble with this, it means the largest muscles in your body – your quadriceps and glutes – are weak and need some work.

In this case, start doing some squats as soon as possible. Building strength in these muscles not only helps to stabilize your entire body, it also helps you burn fat faster.

To properly execute a squat, place your feet hip-width apart with your hands behind your head. Squat at the knees, using your upper thighs and abdomen for strength… and remember to keep your back straight. Hold for the count of five, and then rise back up into standing position.

If you’re unable to perform an unassisted squat, you can work your way up to it by performing squats with your back against the wall or with your hands placed on the back of a stable chair, table or counter.

I actually placed handicapped wall assist bars in my office for some patients and wound up using them to hold onto doing morning squats. Only squat as far as comfortable until you build up your strength.

Finally, you may want to start tracking your movement to get a better idea of how you’re doing day-to-day. Phone apps are a great tool, but if you often leave your phone behind – in a desk or in a suitcase – then you won’t get credit for all of your steps.

Instead, I suggest you spend a little bit of money on a fitness watch that can keep track of your steps. Or you could get a simple pedometer to clip onto your clothing.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how you move each and every day to stay healthy. Just move!

Sources:

Rottensteiner M, et al. Physical activity, fitness, glucose homeostasis, and brain morphology in twins. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015 Mar;47(3):509-18.

Drigny J, et al. Effect of interval training on cognitive functioning and cerebral oxygenation in obese patients: a pilot study. J Rehabil Med. 2014 Nov;46(10):1050-4.

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