Nutrition Health Review

WINTER 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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Nutrition Health Review GET STARTED! Your health should be a priority, and exercise is an integral part of your health. But starting an exercise program can be both exciting and frustrating. It takes approximately six months to a year for exercise to become a habit. Some people will learn to love exercise and some never will. For the first few weeks you might be more tired than usual, but if you stick with it, you will notice an increase in energy. Before long you will feel stronger and sleep better. Exercise is a natural antidepressant and is good for your heart. It is a stress reducer, decreases anger and hostility, and gives you a sense of control over your life. It may be one of the greatest things you can do for yourself, but it takes work. It may feel awkward asking your spouse to watch the kids so you can go walking or postponing making dinner so you can go to the gym, but it is necessary. The idea of putting yourself first may be foreign and uncomfortable and may be followed by guilt, especially if you have always been the caretaker of the family. Push yourself through those feelings, and they will diminish with time. Remember that if you take care of yourself, you will be better able to take care of your family. FOCuS ON WHAT YOu CAN DO, NOT ON WHAT YOu CAN'T Most experts will tell you to strive to exercise 3 to 5 times per week or more and for at least 30 to 45 minutes per workout. If you can do it every day, that is even better. Aerobic exercise is excellent, and adding free weights or equipment is a good supplement. Walking is a great way to begin, and it is inexpensive, simple to do, can be done from home, and can be as easy or intense as you choose. Whatever your choice of exercise, remember to discuss it with your doctor. Start small. If all you can do is run for two minutes, then that is a good place to start. Perhaps by the next week you will be able to run 3 or 4 minutes. Try to look at what you can do, not what you can't. With time, you will be able to do much more. Think of an exercise continuum where you are at one end (at the beginning) and Olympic athletes are at the other end. You may never be an Olympian, but at least now you are on that same continuum. The most important part in the beginning is just getting into the habit of working out. It seems simple, but this is one of the most difficult phases of exercise. Battle that negative self-talk and ignore the excuses. Making excuses is normal—and all people that exercise experience them—but they are what stands between you and your goal. Here is a helpful strategy. If you skip a workout for any reason, say to yourself, "I choose not to exercise." This helps to keep the right perspective on exercise and assists you in taking responsibility for skipping workouts rather than using some external factor as the reason. It is easy to blame skipping workouts on having "no time," but realistically there is time; we just choose to use it for something other than exercise. Make a commitment to yourself that if there is not enough time to exercise, something else will have to go, not the exercise. Perhaps the dog gets a bath tomorrow, or maybe the bills get paid later in the evening. There is always time for exercise if you make it a priority. 10 Beginning a Consistent Exercise Program— Part 1 by Cynthia Alexander, PsyD

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