It seems we are all looking for the magic pill, an easy-to-swallow drug that would help us lose weight, lower our blood pressure and cholesterol, put us at lower risk for diabetes, heart attack and stroke. And make it something to help our mental health too – decrease depression, eliminate insomnia, improve memory and protect us from developing Alzheimer’s. If there were a pill that could do all that, can you imagine the cost? And there would have to be troubling side effects, right? And of course, there is always that warning not to take a certain drug if you are allergic to it.
There is indeed a magic pill that will do all the good things mentioned about, with no side effects, and no possibility anyone would be allergic to it. This pill is actually a vitamin -- Vitamin Ex, its generic name is Exercise, and it’s been proven to be effective for years of trials and studies.
Did you know that lack of exercise is a bigger risk factor than smoking, obesity and high blood pressure? It is the number one cause of disease and death. But we often hear about exercise only when it relates to losing weight. And many of us only get motivated around the beginning of the year (when gyms run their membership specials.) The benefits of daily exercise go far beyond weight loss and affect all of our body functions.
But, you say, exercise is hard work! You don’t have time to start going to a gym every day. You may be surprised at how much (or little) exercise it takes to make a difference in your life. And you can stay close to home to do it.
How much exercise? Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends adults participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity -- PER WEEK. That is just one 30-min walk or yoga session five out of seven days! The guidelines say that spreading out your activity over several days has better results than trying to do it all at once. If walking or yoga isn’t your thing, try kick boxing, strength training using resistance tubing or your own body weight. There are hundreds of exercise DVDs that will lead you through any length workout.
Any amount of Vitamin Ex is helpful. If you don’t have 30 minutes to walk, take a few 5-minute walks each day. Park in a space further away than usual to add a few steps to your day. Reduce sitting and instead stand to do every day activities like reading the newspaper or talking on the phone.
Diabetes, insomnia, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s and so many other risks can be taken care of with the same remedy – Exercise.