How Much Exercise Do We Really Need?

Way back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I was an Ironman competitor. That is the insane event that some of you may have seen on the Wide World of Sports where an individual swims 2.4 miles in the ocean, hops on a bike to ride 112 miles, then completes a 26.2 mile marathon. I was in my 20’s. had no children and had a lot of time on my hands to train 2-4 hours a day.
Now in my late 40’s, I have 3 teeneagers and 3 part time jobs. I am thrilled if I get a 20 minute treadmill run or a 30 minute stationary bike ride in, 4-5 times per week.
So how healthy am I after going from 2-4 hours a day to 20-30 minutes, 4-5 times per week? Many sources will tell you that you need 20 minutes to 1 hour per day for cardiovascular health, but many of us just cannot afford that amount of time each day. The point is, that you must make time for at least SOME little bit that will energize you and keep you on the right path to healthy living.
Shockingly I take no prescription medication, have a resting heartrate of around 55, and a blood pressure of 116/72. I have not been sick in years and wear a size 10 jeans. An “average” American woman wears a 14.
So why am I telling you this? Again,I tell you this to let you know that it is still important to do something…..ANYTHING, to keep your precious body moving regularly.
I have had stressful times in my life where I have stopped exercising for several months at a time, and it is frightening to see how quickly my sleep habits, food choices and temperament change. I sleep less as I am more irritable and aggitated. My food choices become more salt and sugar based as my mentality flips over to “Oh Well, Who cares?”, and my whole state of mind is that of hatred and self loathing. Add a little guilt to that as I watch my three children return from a great swim practice, and my husband walk in from a long bike ride, (while I secretly downed a dark chocolate bar before dinner) and you have the recipe for a real mess.
Winters in Cleveland are a real drag. Short days, gray skies, lake effect snow and wind make exercising outdoors rather difficult from mid November through mid March. Working out indoors can be a bore, so make sure that no matter what you do, that you are mixing it up from day to day and week to week. My favorites are treadmills runs listening to Superchick songs, stationary bike rides to a favorite sit-com (I spin fast/sprint through the commercials), and playing around with free weights. I also on occasion use a wobble board or balance board to work my core, or I do some good, old fashioned, calisthenics and stretching. There are also yoga, pilates and step workouts that can easily be done while listening to some good music or catching up on your favorite show.
Do SOMETHING as often as you can, and remember that spring will indeed come.
Stay healthy my friends,


About ironleslie

I have been blessed with lots of energy and I love life. That is why I got into the health/wellness field. I love helping people grow vital health. Although I write primarily in the fitness and nutrition field, vital health to me also means healthy relationships and a faith in a power higher than I.
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