Willingness to exercise, or lack thereof

Survey time
November 21, 2012
A third option for stroke prevention in AF.
December 8, 2012
Hope you are all doing well out there in Internet land.  I am great as always.

I wanted to write for a minute on the subject of exercise.  I think in this day and age EVERYONE knows how good it is for you.  Still most people don’t do enough.  Guidelines for physical activity for adults recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise.  That’s 30 minutes five times daily.  Are you getting enough?
I thought of this as I take my little girl to class after class.  She does karate, ballet and gymnastics.  She loves every minute of it.  She is with her friends and cheerful and having a great time.  I do not need to tell her about guidelines.  She just does it.
What strikes me is how different adults are.  “I don’t have time.”  “I don’t like to exercise.”  “It’s too cold out.”. Stuff like that.  Presumably then they would rather take medications, get sick, and go to hospital.
The benefits of exercise are constantly underestimated.  In fact a recent study suggested patients that were fit, and not on statins, had a much lower mortality than patients unfit who were on statins.  http://www.theheart.org/article/1480211.do. Now this doesn’t mean stop your statins!  For those on these medications, keep taking them!  The drugs save lives, and if you are one of my patients with established heart disease, you will still do much better on these drugs even if you exercise.  What this does show however is how powerful exercise can be at helping you feel better and live longer.
I think what we adults have to do is find something we enjoy and DO IT.  I find enrolling in competitions (basketball for example) forces me to train and is a great motivator.  I actually like going to the gym and clearing my mind.  If you don’t, that’s OK.  But find something you like and do it.  Even walking helps and should be relatively easy to work into what you need to do….go to the store, park further away and walk longer.  Things like this.  Like to watch TV?  Get a treadmill and watch while you work out.  Have arthritis!  This afflicts huge numbers of people.  But you still deserve the benefits of exercise!  Swim, or go see a personal trainer who can design a program to help you exercise and actually improve your joint pain.  This is too important to your health to not get it done.
Basically I think it is most important to find something that works for you.  The Public Health Agency of Canada has some great tips for all age ranges.  Give them a read!  http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/04paap-eng.php
For another great resource check out the book The Flex Diet. Many of you know I am the consultant cardiologist to the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team.  Well, this book is written by Dr. James Beckerman, the consultant cardiologist to the Portland Timbers, one of our regional rivals.  Despite his working for the enemy, it is a great book.  It is not actually just a diet, but a collection of nutrition and exercise tips you can incorporate into your life as you like.  I highly recommend it.  http://www.theflexdiet.com/
What do you think?  How much exercise do you do?  Why do you do what you do?  Is this easy for you to fit in?  Any tips for someone who needs to become more active?  Please leave a comment and tell me!
Until next time,
Dr. John Vyselaar

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