Rich Weil, MEd, CDE: Fall Into Fitness
How to get up and moving
The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Moderator: Welcome back to WebMD Live, Rich. For those of us who used the hot weather as an excuse to lie around in the air conditioning all summer, how do we get up and get moving after a long period of inactivity?
Weil: The best way to motivate oneself is to go ahead and set a weekly schedule. That means write it down if you're not certain you're going to get to it. Really do this: Write down the activity that you'll do. It might be the stationary bike or the treadmill or going back to the gym. Whatever your activity, write that.
Then write down what day or days of the week you'll do it, and then write down the time of day. That's important, because you need to be very specific when goal setting so that you know exactly what is expected of yourself.
Then write down for how long you will do the activity in minutes, whether it's 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or so on. The reason, again, to write down the amount of time, is that you know and expect what you're going to be doing. If you've been a couch potato all summer, that's no problem; don't worry about if it's only a few minutes; get started realistically and build up gradually. One of the sure ways to not succeed is to set unrealistic goals.
I'd also like to add that in the summer, and particularly this summer, it was very hot and humid, and I noticed, for myself, that as soon as it got cooler, I was able to do more exercise and it felt better. My time in my running improved and overall, it was a better experience. So now is the time to go ahead and get started, when the weather is cooler, and I can guarantee that you'll enjoy the better weather.
Moderator: I know people who go to the gym six days a week and some who swear by those 20-minute fitness places a couple of times a week. For general fitness, just how much time is right for the average adult, if there is such a thing?
Weil: Like most things in science and medicine, there's never always one simple answer. There are two primary guidelines for physical activity in the United States. The first is from the American College of Sports Medicine. They recommend 20 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise at 60% to 85% of your maximum heart rate.