With so much information out there on exercise, most of it contradictory, how can you know the correct amount of exercise for yourself?
How much exercise you require might be different then the person next to you who is the same age and shape. The right amount of exercise is dependent on so many variables.
It depends on your past medical history (do you have heart disease? High blood pressure? History of thrombosis or embolism?). It also depends on your past injuries (do you have a bad shoulder from playing football when you were younger? Do you have a bad hip from falling too many times while cheerleading?).
It also depends on your activity level not only recently, but also in the past. If you haven’t exercised in years, then you have to start easy, almost too easy. If you exercised for years but then stopped 2 years ago, you still have to start out easily.
Were you a professional athlete? Were you an amateur athlete, or college level athlete? Do you have old and nagging injuries? Do you have arthritis?
All of these factor into how hard you can exercise, and what types of exercising you can do.
The general guidelines for exercise are to get in 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
If you haven’t exercised in over 4-6 months, then you are not going to be able to perform 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. You will have to start out with something like 20 minutes 3 days a week and work your way up to 150 minutes.
Don’t give into the marketing from those extreme exercise systems that you have to go hard and go extreme in order to see results from exercising. If you are over 40 and have never had 6 pack abs, then chances are you are never going to have 6 pack abs. so why drive yourself crazy trying to get them? Extreme and intense exercise systems are less and less appropriate for you the older you get.
Let pain be your guide with exercising. I designed Pain Free Lifestyle to be an easy on your body exercise system that is easy to follow and easy to fit into your busy life.
It is designed to take you slowly from not exercising into getting into shape. It has to be slow, because if you try to get into shape too fast, you will only injure yourself.
A common mistake for those starting a new exercise routine is to push themselves too hard. Someone who hasn’t exercised in years will usually be enthusiastic about starting a new exercise routine. But your muscles will not be used to the new exercises. You will be surprised at how sore you can get from doig new motions with light weights.
I always recommend starting out with light weights, then working your way up. If you try to start out too heavy, then you will only injure yourself and have to stop exercising. You want to look at the first month of exercising as getting yourself into shape to exercise. During the first few weeks of Pain Free Lifestyle, you will getting yourself in shape to get a good workout in.
Recently 2 studies were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). They both concluded that there is a sweet spot for the right amount of exercising, which is about 50 minutes, 5 days a week, rather than the suggested 30 minutes 5 days a week. The subjects who exercised 250 minutes per week had less of a mortality rate than those who exercised only 150 minutes per day.
One of the findings that did not get much note, but I find particularly interesting, is that those who exercised a little, but consistently, did have a mortality rate of 20% less than those who did not exercise.
This means that even a little bit of light to moderate exercise will benefit you and prolong your life.
This reinforces what I have seen in my clinic for many years. It doesn’t matter how much you exercise, just exercise.
If you are not exercising, and start walking 20 minutes 3 days a week. You will benefit from just that. If you can add in some light weight lifting 2 times a week, you can improve your mobility and reduce your pain.
Pain Free Lifestyle takes you step by step through beginning exercising into getting in shape and staying in shape.
Keep in mind that everyone’s idea of being in shape is different. And your idea of how you should look if you are in shape will vary wildly from how you will look while you are in shape.
I believe in exercising to feel better, reduce pain, improve range of motion, and improve quality of life. If you can exercise consistently, your weight and body shape will come around.
But be realistic about what your body is capable of. If you have never had 6 pack abs and are in your 50s, chances are you aren’t going to get them. Just like not everyone can be a professional athlete, not everyone can get to be ripped and lean.
As we age, our focus shifts more towards feeling better and reducing pain, rather than being ripped and lean. Pain Free Lifestyle is designed to be easy on your body. I hand picked the exercises because I know them, through experience, to be safe and easy on your body.
I believe in exercising intelligently, not just going hard. We are not 20 years old anymore, we cannot expect to exercise like we did when we were 20.
Exercise smarter, not harder. That, is the Pain Free Way.
Here is a link to the article in the New York Times that discussed the studies on exercising: