I advise that all of my patients get a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise daily. If time allows, it is ideal to get 45-60 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise daily. It is necessary for most people to exercise daily, to avoid gaining weight. It is very difficult to lose weight, and more importantly to keep from regaining lost weight, without daily exercise. Obviously, people burn more calories during exercise, than in the resting state. What is less well appreciated is the effect of exercise, on one’s basal metabolic rate. Conditioned muscle burns more calories in a resting state, than non-conditioned muscle, and increasing ones muscle mass also increases ones metabolic rate.
Some caveats pertaining to exercise routines:
1. The principle of inertia applies to exercise. Inertia is the principle of the universe that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, and bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. Its application to humans and exercise it that it is very difficult to start an exercise program …. it really does not feel good to start to exercise when you’re overweight and out of shape. If you can fight through this, it becomes easier to exercise. A caveat of this principle is that once you develop good exercise habits, DON’T STOP. I have been told by enumerable patients that they were on a great exercise routine and they stopped due to work being busy, a vacation, the holidays…. it is ironic, because these are the times that exercise is the most beneficial. What do most people do on vacations, and over the holidays; they eat and drink more. This is exactly the time when you need to exercise. Many people combat work stress with overeating. The healthier solution would be to exercise.
2. Don’t start an exercise program, with the intention of exercising 3 days a week. I have never seen this work. Three days a week, often becomes 1-2 days a week. The problem with this is, it is not sustainable. Exercising once or twice a week is very uncomfortable, as you never get into good enough shape that the exercise stops hurting. An exaggerated example of this is somebody who goes out for a run once a month and then limps for 3 or 4 days, compared to somebody who runs 5 or 6 days a week, and the exercise actually feels good.
3. Pick an exercise that is weather independent. If you choose an exercise that is weather dependent, such as cycling, have a backup plan to get on a stationary bike on days of inclement weather.
4. Ideally pick an exercise that it not dependent on participation of another individual. If you prefer to have an exercise “buddy,” commit to yourself that you will exercise on days when your exercise buddy cancels.