7 Tips to Help You Get Active

7 Tips to Help You Get Active
Between Netflix and limitless fast food options, the temptations to indulge are vast and varied. While it’s not surprising that our lifestyle choices impact our overall wellness, did you know that healthy living can prevent or even reverse as much as 80 percent of chronic disease? 

One critical part of staying healthy for life is staying physically active. As a lifestyle medicine specialist, Dr. Tyler Murphy offers these helpful tips for those who haven’t exercised in a while or may be reluctant to jump on the fitness bandwagon: 

  1. Start small: Take a walk around your block, and yes, it’s okay to stop and rest. Remember, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. As you build strength and endurance, maybe you’d like to work toward completing your first 5K? If yes, consider using a program like the Couch to 5K® Running Plan.
  2. Think gradual: Too busy for exercise? Treat working out like any other appointment that needs scheduling. Keep in mind: it’s best to gradually build to where you can exercise comfortably for 30 minutes three or four times a week before diving into a more intense activity (e.g., boot camp workout). If you don’t have time to exercise 30 minutes at once, aim for three 10-minute sessions.
  3. Mix it up: Try different activities, whether it’s walking, swimming, biking, hiking, strength training or yoga. Participating in different activities combats boredom and helps reduce the chances of injury, as you avoid overusing one specific muscle or joint.
  4. Find a friend: Exercising with a friend or a group of strangers who will soon become pals can keep you accountable and help you stay on track. Exercising as a whole family is also very rewarding and a great way to reduce sedentary time.
  5. Wear the right gear: Get fitted with the right shoes. A running and/or fitness store can make recommendations on the ideal shoe for you. Wear appropriate clothing that’s comfortable and will limit chafing (common in the leg and groin area).
  6. Track your progress: Take advantage of a smartphone app to track your weight, what you eat and how often you exercise. There are also a wide range of fitness wearables available today. If you’re not into high tech, a basic pedometer can be just as effective to get you moving.
  7. Rest and recover: Don’t start out too fast, and allow your body to rest and recover between exercise sessions. If you ever feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea during exercise, stop, as you could be pushing yourself too hard. If you’re not feeling well in general, give yourself permission to take a day or two off.
From combating chronic disease and boosting your mood to helping you sleep and maintain a healthy weight, working out works for your wellness—so walk, swim or dance to it! And if it's been a while since, be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.
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  • Tyler Murphy, MD

    Tyler Murphy

    Dr. Tyler Murphy is a board certified internist and lifestyle medicine specialist. He is the medical director of Holland Hospital's Lifestyle Medicine Clinic located at the Center for Good Health and is passionate about helping patients achieve health and wellness by optimizing nutrition, fitness, sleep, mindfulness and reducing harmful environmental exposure. Dr. Murphy is married and has two children. He enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and is an avid cross country skier and cyclist.

    Dr. Murphy invites you to create your healthy path and schedule your Lifestyle Medicine appointment today. Call (616) 399-9522. All blogs by Tyler Murphy

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