Finding the Time to Stay Healthy
As a physical therapist, I am often approached with a variety of questions related to health and well-being. Topping that list is concerns about weight loss and exercise and what would be most beneficial for them. In discussing exercise programs, far and away the number one response I receive is “but I just don’t have time”. The media is relentless in making us aware of healthy eating, exercise and other lifestyle changes. We have all heard the benefits of exercise and diet and at times are unable to get away from talks of training, dieting and lifestyle, yet we continue to lack the “time” for exercise. I assure you time is there, you just have to be willing to find it!!
The two most important factors in weight loss are quite simple: consumption (intake) and expenditure. Basically dieting and weight loss will depend on the energy consumed (calories of intake) and the energy used (calories of expenditure). If expenditure is greater than the energy consumed then stored calories (fat) will be consumed for energy, causing weight loss. Counting calories, however tedious and frustrating it may be, is an important part of self-monitoring. Normal daily caloric intake can be between 1800 and 2200 calories per day depending on body type, age, gender and activity level.
Another major component of dieting is trial and error, but the trial portion is much more important. One day or week of dieting is not enough, you must commit to the idea of changing your lifestyle before you will see results.
Exercise is defined as any activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially to sustain or improve health and fitness. This can be ANY activity. People often have tunnel vision when it comes to the thought of exercise and generally has a negative connotation by assuming they have to be on a treadmill for 30 minutes.
Consider the following:
- Choose something that interests you such as walking, hiking, weight training, aerobics, cycling, dancing etc.
- Evaluate what is important in your day and plan accordingly
- Commit to exercise and you commit to your health
We choose activities every day and include things such as work/school, meals, grocery shopping, reading, relaxing, cooking/cleaning etc. Why not set aside time for your health and include something important like exercise?? Coordinate your days so that the necessary tasks can be achieved while allowing time for yourself to improve your health. How much time?? Ask yourself if you can sacrifice 20 minutes daily for some type of exercise. If you take the time to coordinate your day you will be amazed at the time you truly have to devote to health and wellness. All it takes is a little extra time to tip the scale in the direction of energy expended instead of energy consumed.
Stephen DiGiambattista is a physical therapist with North Pocono ProCare Physical Therapy. If there are questions, concerns or you would like to suggest ideas for future columns please contact Stephen at firstname.lastname@example.org.