I used to be a non-exerciser. Well, I played soccer in high school and did intramural stuff, so I guess I was an occasional exerciser. Once I got to medical school, though, I realized that since I would be telling my patients to exercise and lose weight, maybe I should listen to my own future advice. And since I'm graduating in 2 days, I feel I can give them blogging world some advice.

I'm a big fan of exercising, for many different reasons. The biggest one is that it means I don't have to feel that bad when I eat dessert occasionally (or most days). I also just FEEL better when I exercise, and sleep better. Losing around 20 pounds didn't hurt either.

Here are different things that you can do to start exercising:
1. Running - This is how I started. The nice thing about running is that you can do it anywhere and all you need is a decent pair of shoes. Although I prefer to run outside, people tell me you can even run INDOORS. Studies have shown that even by walking for 30 or 45 minutes a day, people can decrease their risk of heart attacts and diabetes.
2. Swimming - I think this is my favorite form of exercise to recommend to people, since it is low-impact (meaning no stress on joints like knees) and uses nearly all your muscles, not just lower body. You don't sweat (or you can't feel it since you're wet) and when you finish, you have this nice sense of fatigue but nothing is sore. The trick here is finding a pool. The student health center at my medical school has one, but occasionally in the summer I'll go to an outdoor community pool and do some swimming in the sun.
3. Biking - This is my new favorite. The downside here is that bikes can be expensive, but you can always find cheaper used bikes that are still pretty good. You can do it outside and really get to enjoy some scenery since you can go a lot farther and faster than running. This is also very low impact, although sometimes your buns get a little sore.

Indoor exercising: Although I prefer to exercise outside, sometimes it is just not possible. There are lots of machines you can use if you are members at a YMCA or gym.
1. Elliptical machine - like running, but less impact. Some machine also have poles so you can use your arms.
2. Stationary bike - Almost like biking outside.
3. Stair machine - I think this is the best machine to use if you want to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time. I know when I use it, I get much more winded and sweaty than with other machine.
4. Pilates - I recently started going to Pilates once a week. I am really enjoying it and find it tough since it is making me use all these muscles I didn't even know I have. Since I get free access to our student health center and all the classes, I know I am blessed to be able to go to these classes for free. There are great dvds out there, though, so you can do pilates from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
5. Weight machines - Although I don't use these as much as I should, building muscle is a very important part of being healthy. For one, muscle burns more calories than fat, so you can increase your metabolism (and lose more weight). The second is that this is especially important for women. Any kind of weight-lifting exercise increase bone strength and density, and decreases your chances of having osteoporosis.

I know that many moms with kids don't think they have time to exercise. But I find that I have time for things that I make priorities. Once your kids get older, they can always ride their bikes along with you while you run or walk. Some gyms have day care, or you could get a bunch of moms together and take turns getting exercise. If your kids see that exercising is a priority, it will make them understand that we should take care of our bodies, and that glorifies God.

If you're having trouble getting motivated, pick out a road race, marathon, or triathlon and pay the fee and enter. Then you'll have a good reason to make sure you train for it. You might be surprised at how much fun it is, and by how well you can do.

I know I was.

So get moving! And go here for other tips.


Betsy said…
Great post. I love to workout too!
Overwhelmed! said…
Good for you for MAKING time for exercise. I'm starting small myself...a 30 minute walk each night.
Anonymous said…
Hey Doc,
I thought I'd pass on a new exercise program for some of your more athletic patients. It's called Mind and Body Workout and what it does is incorporate the sophisticated breathing techniques of Yoga into a strength and endurance training routine. It makes one learn to exercise and build endurance as if they were training in a high-altitude atmosphere. Athletes love it!
Anonymous said…
Very sound advice. I'm impressed that you've made a commitment to "practice what you preach" about diet and eXercise. Your patients are blessed. CONGRATULATIONS on your imminent graduation! ThanX for stopping by my blog and leaving a helpful comment -- those eXtra details are appreciated.

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