It strengthens our hearts, lifts our mood, and can even help stave off certain diseases, to name just a few.
One of the primary benefits of exercise is increased muscle mass. This doesn’t mean we all want to look like bodybuilders—but muscle is important for keeping us active and independent as we age, and for maintaining a healthy weight.
If you’re committed to optimal health, you’ll need to schedule exercise into your week—and keep the appointments. Meaningful exercise rarely happens spontaneously. Even if you work in a physically demanding profession, you’ll probably still need to round out your routine with a little aerobic and flexibility training.
The basic weekly exercise “prescription” I give most patients is a combination of strength, flexibility, balance, and cardio that breaks down like this:
Aerobic: 3 hours (six 30-minute sessions such as brisk walks, or four 45-minute sessions, or three 1-hour sessions).
Strength: 1 hour (two 30-minute sessions or three 20-minute sessions).
Flexibility: 10 minutes every other day of basic yoga stretches. Eight sun salutes, for example.
Balance: 30 minutes weekly; ideally spending 5 minutes, 6 days a week, doing something simple such as standing on one leg while brushing teeth or washing dishes.