Exercise: Myths vs. Facts

exercise outsideBenefits of Exercise:

  • Exercise controls weight
  • Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
  • Exercise improves mood
  • Exercise boosts energy
  • Exercise promotes better sleep
  • Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
  • Exercise can be fun

Important Myths & Facts:

Myth: Exercise can only be done in the morning.
Fact: Exercise is best in a cool and calm atmosphere, at any hour of the day. Mornings are preferable, but at any time when your stomach is empty, you can do exercise. Evening or late evening is also acceptable.

Myth: Domestic work or routine day-to-day work is enough exercise, and there is no need for more.
Fact: Domestic work or routine day-to-day exercise in never enough, and is not considered as regular exercise in any way. Though these activities do burn extra calories, regular exercise is a must. Whenever you do your routine work, it is not a continuous process, so you do not burn proper calories.

Myth: No special clothing or footwear is required while doing exercise.
Fact: Exercise should be done with well-fitting clothes, and clothes which allow proper ventilation, like cotton, etc. Proper footwear while walking or running is a must. Otherwise, the ill fitting or improper footwear can lead to injury to the joints of the leg while doing exercise.

Myth: Walking after a major meal is an exercise.
Fact: Walking after a major meal in the evening is good for digestive purposes, as it enhances secretion of digestive juices, but moderate or heavy exercises after a major meal have harmful effects.

Myth: Walking is a wholesome exercise, and nothing else is needed.
Fact: Walking is good, but not enough. One must do some other exercise, like muscle strengthening and stretching exercises, at least 2-3 days in a week. No single form of exercise is enough.

Myth: I am too young or too old to exercise, I do not need exercise.
Fact: Exercise is good for any age, and in fact, a must for all. At all ages, there is a definite advantage of doing exercise. Early initiation of exercise at a younger age is important, as it helps to cultivate good habits for a lifetime.

Important points to remember while doing exercise:

  • Do not talk while doing exercise.
  • After doing exercise, you should feel somewhat exhausted – this means that you have given some strain to your body and have really done something.
  • Maintenance of proper hydration during and after exercise is a must and is very important.
  • Exercise may feel boring in the beginning, but once you are regular, you will love to do it. You can do exercise in groups, which will make it more fun. Light music is always good as well.
  • For most people, 150 minutes of exercise per week is recommended.
  • A single exercise is incomplete. You need to do a variety of exercises for full benefits.
  • For senior citizens and heart patients: please avoid walking for exercise, or any other forms of exercise, early in the morning during winter. There are chances of heart vessel spasms and problems like angina or heart attack. Please delay your exercise schedule in winter.

Types of Exercise:

There are four kinds of exercise:

  • Physical exercise, which is a part of living one's life
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Resistance training
  • Stretching

Physical Exercise:

  • Moving around, walking, and lifting objects in your daily routine
  • Walking to travel and using stairs can be considered physical exercise

Aerobic Exercise:

  • Jogging or walking fast
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Playing basketball
  • Swimming

Resistance Training:

  • Lifting weights or pushing against something that is heavy or hard to move.
  • Benefits: Building of physical strength, while reducing fat and building muscle, which burns more calories.
  • Types: Lifting weights, doing push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.
  • How to do? All major muscle groups should be involved.
  • How much? Twice a week at a minimum, or up to three or more times per week.

Stretching:

  • Stretching can loosen the joints and promote the free flow of blood and other fluids.
  • Benefits: Strengthens the ligaments and tendons, while strengthening the bones and promoting relaxation.
  • When? It is easiest to stretch in the afternoon or early evening.
  • How? Start slowly, and try to stretch further each day, to avoid excess strain.

Disadvantages of Not Exercising:

  • Bones and tendons will weaken
  • Lethargy / lack of energy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Obesity
  • Shortness of breath on exertion
  • Worsening irritability, anxiety, or depression
  • And a lot more…….

Important Note: (The details given here are for general information only. Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise programme.)

Vachharajani Dr. Vachharajani is an experienced practicing family physician in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with a special interest in obesity and lifestyle-related disorders. With a genuine passion and enthusiasm for healthcare information technology (HIT), he has championed the cause of using HIT in day-to-day clinical practice. In addition to his, MBBS, he holds a post-graduate certificate in environmental and occupational health (PGDMCH).
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