When it comes to excuses for not exercising, personal trainers have heard them all: I don’t have the time, I’m too old, I’m not athletic, I’m recovering from illness and I’m so out of shape it’s not going to make a difference.
In fact, starting where you are has the potential to make a world of difference, according to Lisa Best, an Alberta Health Service staff wellness consultant at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton.
“No matter how old you are – and even if you’ve never exercised before – it’s never too late to start,” she says. “With a little effort, beginners can expect to see improvements in energy levels, cardiovascular health, posture, muscle mass, bone density, and, most importantly, overall physical and mental well-being.”
Even if you’re recovering from illness or you have limited mobility, exercise can help improve strength and range of motion for daily activities and recreational pursuits.
Best understands first-hand the importance of maintaining good health. In 2007, at age 38 and in the prime of a competitive running career, she began to have back pain. It turned out to be third-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She was cleared after three months of chemotherapy, a relatively quick turnaround she credits to her high fitness level. “Life can change on a dime and you never know when you might have to rely on the strength of your body to carry you back to good health,” she says. The hardest step on the road to better fitness is the first one. As always, check with your health-care provider before undertaking any program of increased physical activity. Other tips:
- Choose an exercise that you enjoy to keep you motivated
- Figure out when your energy level is highest and whether you’d be happier exercising with a group or on your own
- Start easy, with as little as 10 minutes a day at an easy to moderate intensity level
• Gradually increase your duration, intensity, and the type of exercises that you are doing as your body adapts to your new exercise regime. “The key to exercising is to make a plan and act on it,” Best says. And once you’ve started to enjoy the benefits, you’ll forget all about the old excuses.