Extension@YourService: Exercise Is for Every Body

— Written By and last updated by Leeann Crump

Exercise is for everybody, not only for the fit. Unfortunately, because of the American obesity epidemic, many people associate exercise with losing weight. Although exercise is used as a means of losing weight when excess fat and physical inactivity is contributing to chronic illnesses, that is not why you should exercise. It is possible to be overweight, obese even, and be healthy with regular exercise. You should exercise because you were designed to be active! Our bodies were not made to sit down all day, but somehow we designed our whole life around sitting down.

There are several excuses people give for not exercising. Instead of telling you to just “Stop making excuses!”,  let us explore possible solutions and other factors that can motivate us to move more.

One of the top excuses people give for not exercising is lack of time. Not only do we not have the time but we don’t have the energy to exercise. Fortunately, exercise can be cumulative. This means that you can break exercise up throughout the day and still get the benefits of daily exercise. It is recommended that you get 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week at a moderate intensity. Instead, you can do three 10 minute sessions throughout the day. Examples of moderate activity include brisk walking, heaving cleaning such as vacuuming, and light bicycling. Getting up and moving more around the house or office in general will have a positive impact on your health as well.

Another barrier to exercise can be access. Whether it is due to transportation or budget constraints, exercise can seem out of reach for some. Free ways of enjoying exercise involve walking, which many people choose to do at home, church, or the cemetery. Other possible locations include the path at East Rockingham Senior Center and local elementary schools where the public is welcome to walk their Daily Mile after school hours. Local gyms can provide access to a variety of gym equipment and classes. The cost can easily be justified by the money it can later save you in health care costs.

Perhaps another reason that we don’t exercise is because it can be uncomfortable or painful. Restarting an exercise regime, or beginning one for the first time, does not feel good and, because results take time to achieve, it can stop people from continuing. There is also going to be a lot of soreness involved.

So why do it? Exercise because it will make you happy and it will make life easier. Exercise has been shown to decrease depression and make everyday tasks easier to do. These effects won’t happen immediately, but they will happen. Exercise because you care about your family and friends. Stay healthy to help take care of loved ones, but also to manage stress. Most of all, exercise because you can. An able body and the ability to exercise is a blessing people take for granted.

If you want to exercise, but don’t know where to start, resources are available at local gyms, senior centers, and your local Extension office to help you find exercise that works for you. One possible way to get started is to participate in a local 5K race like the Run for the Ribbons in April. Start taking care of yourself today!

The Richmond County Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on food safety, health, wellness, and nutrition please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Janice Roberts, MS at 910-997-8255.