How Exercise Can Propel You to Start Changing Your Lifestyle

Updated: Jun 9

Ever since I’ve re-launched this website, I started discussing Lifestyle Medicine and its six areas of focus. However, changing for the sake of living healthier seems daunting. Even the term “lifestyle change” tends to become a complicated message. There is this tendency to feel that you have to go extremes just to see and feel the difference or effects of the lifestyle change.

But that should not be the case.

As an Internal Medicine physician and an advocate of Lifestyle Medicine, I have been in this scenario. My husband and I felt that we had to do a radical change immediately as if it was a matter of life and death. But as we go along, we learned something and realized that the pace of lifestyle change is personal, therefore, subjective. Lifestyle change is not a one-size-fits-all method.

Also, as an Internal Medicine physician, I may be less equipped to advise you on your exercise regimen although I have a few professionals who specialize in exercise and fitness to help me. This is one of the reasons why Lifestyle Medicine is more collaborative rather than structured.

In this article, we will be discussing exercise not just a focus of Lifestyle Medicine but also a way to propel you to start changing to healthier living.

But before you embark on your exercise journey, be sure to consult your physician especially if you have risk factors such as cardiovascular diseases, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.

What is Exercise?

Exercise is defined as any activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness for various reasons. However, most people tend to focus on one type of exercise thinking that they are doing enough. Research has shown that a complete, safe, and effective exercise program should include endurance, strength, and flexibility. The reasons for this are each one has its own benefits, each can improve your ability to do the others, and variety helps reduce boredom and risk of injury.

Endurance (or Aerobic) Exercise

An aerobic exercise is any physical activity that uses large muscle groups in a continuous, rhythmic method over sustained periods of time during which causes the body to use more oxygen for increased cardiovascular endurance. That is why it is also called endurance exercise because this type of exercise helps you improve your staying power in keeping up with your activities of daily living. Examples of this kind of exercise include running, cycling, swimming, brisk walking, skipping rope, rowing, hiking, dancing, playing tennis, continuous training, long distance running, and other low-impact, weight-bearing exercises.

Strength Exercise

Strength exercise is any physical activity which often uses any form of resistance to induce muscular contraction. This in turn would build strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. Also called anaerobic exercise, this type of exercise can firm, tone, increase muscle mass, improve bone density, posture, balance, and coordination. Most weight management programs involve strength exercises. Examples are calisthenics, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, squats, bench press, and weight-bearing exercises or training.