Three Rules to Live By:
Saturday, August 13, 2011 • Chicago, IL 60657
1. Do something rather than nothing. You might be daunted by the sheer number of exercise choices described. But there's no wrong answer -- pick something you enjoy. You might also be daunted by how challenging some of the exercise programs sound, and think that you'll never e a marathoner or a weightlifter or a mountain hiker. But if there's one overriding theme in the research presented in my blogs, it's that any exercise, in almost any amount, brings significant and immediate health benefits. Start doing it, and worry about getting it right later.
2. Figure out your goals and monitor your progress. Everyone has different goals. The workout routine that's perfect for your sister might make no sense for you. Think carefully about what you hope to achieve in six months, a year, five years -- bearing in mind that aphorism that most people overestimate what they can achieve over the long term. Choose a program that will move you toward those goals, and monitor your progress, whether it's how far you can walk, how much weight you can lift, how well you can serve a tennis ball, or even how you feel. If you don't start to see progress after 6 to 12 months, consider whether your program is appropriate to your goals.
3. Try something new. Whenever researchers line up two or more exercise techniques against each other, the conclusion is almost never "A is better than B," or "A and B are the same." Instead, it's "A has these strengths and weaknesses, while B has these other strengths and weaknesses." Moreover, all programs suffer from diminishing returns after a few years -- if you always bike at the same pace and do the same five strength exercises, your improvements will be measured in fractions of a percent. Trying something new every now and then will force your body to adapt in new ways, and keep you mentally fresh.