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Overcoming Barriers to Exercise: How to Keep Your New Year's Fitness Resolution

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Returning to exercise Like many New Year’s resolutions, sticking to an exercise program is not the easiest thing to do. Some people even have a hard time getting started.

For many people, daily exercise is a foreign concept. It’s not necessarily that they’re lazy, but they’ve just never fully accepted the idea of dedicating 20-30 minutes of their time every day to doing something physical.

For others, especially those who may be getting up in years or are obese or just plain “out-of-shape”, starting an exercise program can be a health and safety issue. They may have medical restrictions or be on medication. They may have even tried to exercise in the past, but developed so many aches, pains and injuries that they were forced to stop. Frustrated, they are hesitant to start up again.

Exercise promotes heart health, circulation, breathing, muscle function, mental and emotional health!

However, the vast majority of health experts agree on the benefits of regular exercise. Because most of our daily lives involve little physical activity, it’s important to get our bodies in action. Exercise promotes heart health, circulation, breathing, muscle function, and even mental capacity and emotional health. It also helps to ward off obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and countless other medical conditions. In spite of these health benefits, too many people are still not exercising!

With all this knowledge why aren't you exercising?

Let’s address some of the reasons or excuses people use to avoid and/or not stick to an exercise program. Maybe if we can simplify some of the barriers we can get just a few more people active and healthy.

  1. Exercise is boring. - Exercise doesn't mean you have to spend 1 1/2 by yourself on some type of fitness machine. There are so many options for exercise that it’s hard to imagine that you can’t find an activity that is somewhat enjoyable in order to get your body moving. You can walk, jog outside or at the gym, swim, ride a bike, use the elliptical trainer or take an exercise class; get involved in team sports, martial arts or cross fit, zumba…and the list goes on!

  2. I don’t have time to exercise. - Really, when you look at all the health benefits, or at least the detrimental effects of not exercising, you don’t have time NOT to exercise. Most studies show that 30 minutes dedicated to exercise 3-4 times a week is enough to make a difference. Some newer studies even show that you can get the same benefits by breaking those 30 minutes up into two 15 minute increments. Even if you are truly crunched for time, you likely spend at least 30 minutes a day reading, watching television, reading emails and/or playing on your smart device. Guess what? You can do all those things while you’re on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike!

  3. I don’t want to get injured or I’ve been injured in the past. – This is where we can really help! It’s never easy to start an exercise program from scratch. You want to get the benefits, reach your goals, but not overdo it. And there’s so much misinformation out there that listening to others or browsing the internet can just make you more confused and frustrated.

First, let’s get rid of the idea that exercise is in any way bad for you. People who exercise regularly live longer, healthier and even happier lives than those who don’t. And yet we continue to hear, “I can’t jog, it’s too hard on my joints,” and other similar quotes.

People who exercise regularly live longer, healthier and even happier lives than those who don’t.

Guess what? A recent study at Baylor University found a lower incidence of knee arthritis in frequent runners compared to those who didn't’t run. The study involved over 74,000 people. Of course, that doesn't mean that jogging is for everyone. If you already have arthritis, you probably want to find a different type of exercise. The point is that exercising in so many ways is better than NOT exercising.

Don't get sidelined by your running injury! Seek help from caring and knowledeable professionals.

So get moving! Get started on your exercise goals whether it is 5 minutes or 30 minutes a day, every bit counts. If you need help getting started, have concerns about your feet or are having leg or foot pain after starting to exercise schedule a consultation with our sports medicine and running specialist, Richard Graves, DPM.

We have two convienently located offices and serve Long Beach and the surrounding areas, call (562) 433-0478 to schedule an appointment today.

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