The Magic Power of Exercise

Blog | 02/25/2021

Mary Gomez, DO and Amy Jo Overlin, MD, Banner Health

If a friend advised you to take a pill once a day and that it would reduce your anxiety, decrease your blood pressure, help you sleep better, and improve your concentration and mood, would you take it? What if it also decreased your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and helped prevent weight gain? Wouldn’t we all say a resounding YES?Now, we all know there isn’t a magical pill that gives you all these health benefits but there is something that can. These benefits are released by the power of EXERCISE.

While working out routinely may seem like a daunting task, it can be done with small changes. On our last post, we outlined an easy beginning walking/running program to prepare for Pat’s Run, which can be a great place to start. This is appropriate if you are a first-time runner or have been on a hiatus from exercising for a while; however, if you have any known health
conditions, it is strongly recommended to speak with your physician prior to beginning any new exercise program.

If you are struggling with a formal walking or running program, we know that even small increases in physical activity throughout the day can help. For example, short 10-15 minutes bursts of increased activity such as: walking briskly to and from your car at work, doing household chores, dancing to a favorite tune, or taking the stairs at work can provide health benefits. There is no
specific threshold that must be reached before we feel the positive effects of exercise.

If you already exercise regularly and are looking to increase your program, here are some additional recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine:

  • Perform at least 2.5-5 hours/week of moderate-intensity exercise (e.g. walking briskly, riding a bike, swimming, or playing doubles tennis)
    • Exercise should be divided over 4-5 days/week
  • Add strength training at least twice/week
    • Muscle-strengthening activities could include lifting weights, using resistance bands or even your own body weight (e.g. push-ups).

If you are ready to push your training to the next level, these additional activities can be incorporated into our outlined Couch to 4.2 Miles Training Program in preparation for this year’s
Pat’s Run.

As a participant in 17th annual run, you are not only gaining the personal benefits of exercise, but are truly helping others. Through your involvement in Pat’s Run, you are serving your community and supporting the nearly 700 Tillman Scholars. So, get training, keep moving and feed your body and soul!