Let’s Get Physical

UH OptiWeight Blogger Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD

December 11th, 2012

Everyone knows that exercise is good for us and that we should be working out most days of the week. (If you want recommended minutes of physical activity per week, check out the CDC’s guidelines for adults.) The benefits of physical activity are endless! It reduces your risk of hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, certain cancers, depression, and risk of falls. It improves bone and functional health. Most pertinent to UH OptiWeight, exercise is fundamentally important for weight maintenance!

If the benefits of exercise could be bottled up in pill form, it would be the most commonly prescribed drug. So why aren’t we all doing it!? The reasons are endless: too busy, too tired, too out of shape, too expensive, too embarrassed. The excuses are endless, but the benefits are so great that we need to ALL get over the excuses and start sweating!

Multiple studies show that even short exercise bouts of 10 minutes reap huge health benefits. You can easily fit in a 10-minute walk after lunch. Even better, for weight loss and maintenance, take three 10-minute walks throughout your day.

“I’m too tired”
This is great excuse to exercise! Because research shows that regular exercise actually increases our energy level. This is attributed to the beneficial side effects of sharper focus, improved sleep, better heart health, and increased endorphin levels.

“I’m too out of shape.” “I’m too embarrassed amongst all the spandex and fit people at the gym.”
Start small. And, you don’t need a gym! Just grab a pair of supportive athletic shoes and go for a 10-minute walk. Build up your workout confidence at home with a video, or on a walk with a friend and you’ll be sporting that spandex athletic gear in no time! (only if you want to, of course!)

So, now that all of our excuses are thrown out the window, sticking with the workout plan is the next step. It’s imperative that you stick with it long enough to make it a habit, so your day feels unfulfilled without your workout!

Tips to stick with your workout routine:

  1. Choose activities that you enjoy. Love it or leave it. Working out should not be a chore! Find an activity that you look forward to completing.
  2. Find a workout buddy. Not only will that buddy hold you accountable and keep you from ditching a workout for the couch, but you will enjoy the workout more!
  3. Schedule your workout time. This is completely necessary. Exercise is important enough to be put into our calendar as a non-negotiable, do-not-disturb activity. (Think blue in your outlook calendar!)
  4. Have choices for at-home workouts. Sometimes your work day may derail your best intentions. Have back-up activities at home to complete your workout. (Think Wii fit for your kids’ gaming system!)
  5. Log your activities. Just like our food intake, logging our exercise helps us stick with it! Not to mention, you get to eat a few more calories and still lose weight!
  6. Start slow. Do not jump into an exercise routine that is beyond your physical capability. When we get sore (or even worse, hurt) we will abandon our workouts.
  7. Revamp your goals monthly. As your workouts start to feel easier, come up with new activities and/or durations to continue to challenge yourself.
  8. Reward yourself. Buy yourself new workout pants or tennis shoes when you reach these goals. Celebrate your physical fitness milestones.

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here.

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