Hospitals

Exercise recommendations might be unrealistic for some – but don’t throw in the towel

There are times when we are told by experts that we must do something specific in order to improve our health – like exercise for 150 minutes a week. But for some people, that’s not really a manageable goal (especially for older folks). And instead of doing maybe 60 or 90 minutes a week, a […]

There are times when we are told by experts that we must do something specific in order to improve our health – like exercise for 150 minutes a week. But for some people, that’s not really a manageable goal (especially for older folks). And instead of doing maybe 60 or 90 minutes a week, a defeatist mentality can make it tempting to do none.

The all or nothing mentality is real.

We all know that exercise can improve our health, especially in the areas of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. So maybe it’s time for doctors to recommend smaller increases in activity, as opposed to generalized, broad number-specific goals.

Two separate articles published in the BMJ explain that smaller increments of activity are still beneficial.

According to BBC News, Philipe de Souto Barreto at the University Hospital of Toulouse, shared his thoughts in the journal that people who aren’t very active should make small changes instead of pushing to achieve goals that are perhaps too ambitious. “He points to previous studies which show even short periods of walking or just 20 minutes of vigorous activity a few times a month, can reduce the risk of death, compared to people who do no exercise.”

In the other article, Phillip Sparling of the Georgia Institute of Technology, says being specific about advice for older patients, over 60, is important. He believes even just standing up and moving around during commercial breaks while watching TV is helpful.

So despite your age, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t as active as you might hope to be, or if you think your doctor would advise you to do more.

Something is always better than nothing. And on that note, I’m going to get up from my desk and take a short walk…to get lunch. That counts for something.