The American Heart Association recommends adults get 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. What comes to mind when you hear this? Thirty minutes of agony? Waking with soreness the following day? Torture by treadmill?
Fitting Exercise Into Your Schedule
For many in our community and beyond, the idea of adding exercise to days already filled with work, caring for family members, and carrying on the business of life sounds overwhelming -- like something that could take away time from a day already too full. When I talk about exercise recommendations with my patients, they often respond, "Doc, I’m too busy to exercise."
Making Physical Activity Fun
June is the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day when I often join community members on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail just outside of Marietta. I bike along the scenic Susquehanna River with retirees and elementary school students, truck drivers, and teachers. Others walk along the trail, enjoying the beautiful scenery. Environment makes a difference. Community resources like hiking trails and parks allow people to step out their door and do something easy that keeps them healthy and happy. Simple exercise like walking is a good dose of medicine.
One gentleman told me he’d been meaning to get out and ride, and found this a great occasion to do something with his teenage daughter. Smiles abounded.
Do What You Enjoy
Now, is riding a bike on a trail every day the answer for everyone, and the only way to get that 150 minutes a week of exercise? Certainly not. However, it does provide one more way to be more active as individuals and as families.
Finding what each of us enjoys doing for exercise can add quality to our days as we get out and move. Last Saturday I saw people running, riding tandem bicycles, walking, skateboarding, and even roller skating on the trail. One size does not fit all in this case. Find activities that are fun for you and add quality to your day. It might even involve a trail.