Fitness

Fitness

SCNM will help you set your fitness goals and achieve them through proper planning and expert advice

Would you deprive yourself of sleep for an entire week?  Would you go days without drinking water? Of course not!  People don’t think twice about these basic needs, but many neglect another crucial aspect of their health: physical fitness.  The numerous physical and mental benefits of regular exercise show that human beings are meant to move, yet as a nation we aren’t moving nearly enough.

Obscene use of screens

Let’s look at some numbers to put this issue in perspective.  Over 80% of adults and adolescents do not meet the Department of Health and Human Services standards for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.  The guideline states that adults should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week.  With 168 hours in a week, 2.5 hours comes out to only 1.48% of the week!  How can 80% of America not achieve such a low standard?  A big part of the answer is screens.  The average American spends over 10 hours a day in front of some sort of screen.  Television, Netflix, smartphones, video games, tablets and computers are consuming a massive amount of Americans’ day-to-day lives. 

Sure, screens are important for both work as well as relaxation, and we are not suggesting you abolish them from your life.  But ask yourself: can I cut at least one hour a day off of my screen time to do something active that will benefit both my physical and mental health?  How much healthier would we be as a nation if everyone did this?  Government reports estimate that half of all adults in the United States will be obese by the year 2030.  There is a nutritional aspect to this trend, which you can learn about here, but there is no denying the American population’s lack of fitness is contributing to the obesity problem.

Part of the issue is that people need to have a good reason to exercise in order to stick with a regular fitness routine.  Maybe you were easily bored or discouraged when you exercised in the past.  Why devote time to fitness then?  The answer is your health. 

Reaping the rewards

At SCNM, our core mission is to help others lead a healthy lifestyle.  We want to help you put together a fitness routine that works with your everyday life so you can live as healthy as possible. 

Regular exercise does wonders for both your physical and mental wellbeing.  A quality fitness routine produces a positive snowball effect on your health because your elevated mood and the physical results produced will make you want to keep exercising.

Here are just some of the benefits you will receive by starting a regular fitness routine:

  • When coupled with proper nutrition, will help with weight loss/weight control.
  • Greatly reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Greatly reduces risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Greatly reduces the risk of developing certain cancers.
  • Releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the body that reduce the perception of pain and produce feelings of euphoria and well-being.
  • Improves your quality of sleep.
  • Strengthens bones and muscles, making everyday activities easier and less tiring.
  • Increases chances of living longer.
  • Combats depression and stress.

Something in the way

So with all of these benefits why doesn’t everyone exercise frequently?  There are a number of excuses people give for not exercising enough.  We use the word “excuse” because we don’t find these reasons valid and we can help you find ways around them.

No time: We have already covered above how time should not be a factor.  One hour of exercise 6 days a week is about 3.5% of the week.  If you don’t have access to a gym, or you are constantly travelling, we have a plan for that.  If you spend all of your non-work time with your kids, we have a plan for that too.

Physical impairments: “I am too tired to work out” is an excuse people often give.  The endorphins released from exercising will actually energize you; therefore you can break the cycle of fatigue just by getting started with an exercise routine.  If you have bad joints, it is a good idea to swim.  If you are inflexible, take a beginner yoga class.  There are workarounds for virtually every physical impairment; there are many paraplegics that exercise regularly.  We will do our very best to accommodate any barriers you may have by tailoring a plan specifically to you. 

Mental blocks: This can be the trickiest issue to overcome.  Psychological blocks towards getting started with an exercise routine can include self-doubt, low self-esteem and poor past experiences.  If you have a lot of weight to lose, you may be self-conscious or intimidated by going into a gym.   A good alternative is to start hiking with some friends so you can enjoy yourself and not be anxious during your exercise.  Many people find that when they exercised in the past they found it so boring it was impossible to stay motivated.  If you are one of these people, take a look at some of these options that you may find more fun than the standard treadmill:

  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT is an interdisciplinary fitness program that combines aspects of weight training, gymnastics, track, Olympic style lifting, and military style exercises. It is an excellent full body workout with both strength and cardio benefits. It is typically done in a class setting.
  • Yoga and Tai chi: Ancient disciplines that engage the mind, body and spirit. Yoga and tai chi are excellent for building strength and flexibility, as well as reducing stress.  There are a number of places you can take classes for all skill levels, including right here at SCNM!
  • Combat Sports: Combat sports include boxing, Muay Thai, mixed martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and many others. You do not have to participate in combat with another person to take classes in these disciplines, and they are great for those looking to learn a skill while exercising.
  • Swimming: Swimming is an excellent form of exercise as it provides both cardio and resistance training while being gentle on your joints.
  • Running/Hiking/Walking: All good forms of exercise that can be done alone or with a group and are completely free!
  • Weight Training: Lifting weights is one of the most efficient ways to lose weight. Not only do you burn calories while you are lifting, your body continues to burn calories after you are done because your muscles are working to recover and grow.  There are a number of different ways to design a weight training program, such as high repetition work for tone, or powerlifting/Olympic style training for maximum strength. 

The key is to find a good form of exercise that you enjoy doing.  You may need to step outside your comfort zone to try a new activity, but it will be well worth it. 

Plan for success

The first step is to set a concrete goal so you will stay motivated.  We will then help you set incremental goals to work towards this larger goal.  This goal can be anything fitness related.  You may want to lose a certain amount of weight (although don’t get too caught up in the number on the scale: remember muscle weighs more than fat).  You may want to run a half marathon, participate in an obstacle race, perform a new yoga pose, or hit a new weightlifting max.  Working towards a specific achievement will keep you focused and make your fitness training more fun.  Tell your friends and family about your goal and have them hold you accountable.  Whatever your goal is, we will help you realize it. 

Setting your goal is only part of the process.  A goal without a plan is a wish.  Proper planning is the key to success in any endeavor, and a new fitness routine is no different.  Our physicians will work with you to create a plan that you will be able to stick with.  Establish times that you can do your exercise and do not deviate from the plan until it becomes second nature.  Allotting this time will require sacrifice, but nothing worthwhile comes easy.  You may need to wake up earlier to exercise before work, or cut down sedentary activities such as TV and internet time, but once you see the results of your efforts you will enjoy spending this time exercising. 

We want to see you succeed and live a healthy life.  A naturopathic physician can educate you on how to exercise as well as how to plan a routine around whatever physical and time restrictions you may have.  Give us a call at 480.428.3232 or click here to set up an appointment and we can take the first step together.