Finding Fitness at Any Age
“I know I need to exercise, but am SO busy; I just can’t ever seem to do it.”
Sound familiar? Take heart. Experts say, when it comes to improving your cardiovascular and overall health, it’s the little changes that matter most. And you don’t need to be a gym rat to get there.
“Newer research has debunked the idea that we need to exercise in big blocks of time in order to make a difference,” explains Alexis Canaves, a health fitness specialist and exercise physiologist at the UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center.
The 60,000 square-foot center is located in the middle of the downtown Miami Health District. The facility has been a buzz of activity and resources for over a decade.
Balance is the key,” offers Canaves.
“Even walking 10 or 15 minutes at a time can do the trick, provided you hit weekly goals recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine of at least 150 total minutes of moderate exercise.”
Does that mean an average adult could walk 15 minutes on a Monday for a coffee and back; take an exercise class for 25 minutes Tuesday; hoof it for just two 10-minute walking breaks inside the office Wednesday; skip a day entirely on Thursday; exercise with a DVD for 20 minutes Friday; bike with a friend for 30 minutes Saturday; and walk the mall an extra 15 minutes Sunday, and STILL hit the mark?
Actually, yes—if you also took the stairs at work each day that week (adding 5 minutes a day). Provided you pass the “talking test” when exercising, shares Canaves.
“You should be exercising hard enough to elevate your heart rate, but not so hard that you can’t speak a few well understood sentences to the person (or imagined person) next to you before you need to take a breath,” she adds.
Easy tips to get some heart-healthy cardio:
Have an office job? Get up from your desk routinely for short 5–10 minute walking spurts.
- When shopping, park farther away from stores and add extra walking steps back and forth.
- Take the stairs whenever it’s an option, and do it routinely.
- Get a pet! The morning and evening walks are a great way to help more than Fido’s health.
- Lastly, pace yourself! Squeezing all of your weekly exercise into a few “super sets” does more harm than good.
“Forcing too much exercise into just a couple sessions a week won’t offset all the inactivity of a sedentary week,” warns Canaves. “It also risks injury by adding stresses to the body.”
Learn more about UHealth’s Fitness and Wellness Center, including classes, memberships, hours and special events.