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Exercise as Medicine

Get your daily dose of exercise

Exercise is so important for our overall health. Regular exercise helps to achieve a healthy body composition and can be a preventative and a treatment for many diseases. For this reason, and for many others, exercise can be considered a medicine, and just like a lot of medicines, exercise needs to be administered in healthy doses on a regular basis. 

Doing some sort of exercise daily and varying what you do throughout the week. Whether that is doing a hard session at the gym, a calming yoga session, a walk by the river, a hike through a forest or (insert your favourite form of exercise here). Whatever it is, exercising on a daily basis leads to better health, more happiness and a longer life. 

As mentioned previously, exercise should be done in healthy doses. Doing an incredibly hard and extended workout everyday is a great way to burn yourself out quickly, just like doing too much too fast if you have never properly exercised before can lead to you shying away because it is “too hard”. Finding the right dose takes time, and it is a great idea to gradually build up your health and fitness over time. In the meantime, here are a few tips and tricks to incorporate daily exercise into your life.

  1. Start small. As little as ten minutes of exercise a day has been shown to have a remarkable effect on many aspects of health and fitness. Remember, you are trying to ingrain a habit, one that you can build on over time.
  2. Be consistent with the time. We get it, we are all busy and it can be hard to fit in regular exercise. The best thing to do is find the time/s of day that work for you and make a point of exercising at that time every day. It will go a long way in making exercise a habit and a priority to you.
  3. Vary what you do throughout the week. This helps to prevent boredom and stops your exercise routine from growing stale. Also, at least once a month, try to do something different to your normal rotation of exercises. 
  4. Get outside. There have been several research papers published on the restorative benefits of getting outside into green spaces. A 15-to-30-minute walk through a forest or park can help to clear your head and calm down your nervous system. Also, just by getting outside, you are getting a good dose of vitamin D, something the western world has a severe deficiency in and is so important for many processes in our bodies. 
  5. Vary the intensity. Do hard sessions that push your body to its limits and give you that amazing post workout high. Do easier sessions that allow you to recover and relax your body and mind. Listen to your body and see what it is capable of. 
  6. Exercise with a friend. Exercise is a great way to meet new people and build on existing relationships. Plus, having someone exercise regularly with you makes what you are doing more enjoyable, and it keeps you accountable.
  7. Hire a professional. Having a health and exercise professional map out what you are doing in the week cuts down decision fatigue and allows you to focus on and enjoy what you are doing. Just like exercising with a friend, having a trainer will keep you accountable and they will tailor your routine to make it more enjoyable for you.

Exercising every day is not a chore or a life sentence. Yes, it should be challenging and no, you will not always be comfortable doing it, but the benefits you gain from it and the enjoyment it can bring to your life far outweigh any negatives. Remember, you do not have to start big, doing something is always better than nothing and varying what you do helps to keep things fun and engaging. 

References

Cashman, K. D. (2019). Vitamin D Deficiency: Defining, Prevalence, Causes, and Strategies of Addressing. Calcified tissue international, 106(1), 14-29. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00223-019-00559-4 

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