It is easy to forget to exercise when one is extremely busy with responsibilities related to work, school, or family. However, it is very important to learn to place exercise on the top of your to-do-list because of the many health benefits. Exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems, diabetes type 2, obesity, and stroke. Interestingly, studies have shown that survivors of certain cancers prolong their life by maintaining an active lifestyle.1 For these reasons it is imperative to adopt an active lifestyle. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends two and a half hours a week of moderate aerobic exercise, or an hour and fifteen minutes a week of intense aerobic exercise, or some combination of both. In addition, it is recommended to perform strength training at least twice a week of the major muscle groups that include the biceps, triceps, chest, back, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. For those who need to reduce their blood pressure or cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends performing forty minutes of aerobic exercise four to five times a week to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
It is recommended to begin this lifestyle by being organized and determined to reach your goal of being active. If you have never done any exercise, it is not too late. Simply start walking thirty minutes a day! Walking is one of the most effective ways of achieving good health. Moderate forms of aerobic exercise include brisk walking and swimming. Running and dancing are forms of intense aerobic exercise. Other forms of promoting an active lifestyle include using the stairs instead of the elevator, cleaning your house instead of paying someone for this service, walking to a nearby store instead of driving, walking your dog, walking while on the phone, and parking far from the mall or market.2 Finally, for strength training one can use weights or resistance bands. You should aim to do one set of twelve to fifteen repetitions for each group muscle and select the weight and resistance based on how much you need to fatigue your muscles in one set of exercise. Good luck and cheers to an active lifestyle!
Irene Perez is a Nicaraguan-Cuban American born and raised in Miami, Florida. She is a second-year medical student at the University of Rochester. This past summer, she conducted research in Acute Myeloid Leukemia at Emory University School of Medicine. As an undergraduate, she studied biology and physics at Florida International University. She also conducted research in the field of biophysics at Princeton University and at Florida International University. Additionally, she received a master’s degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Florida, where she also conducted research related to gene doping. Irene is hoping to become a pediatrician and specialize in hematology-oncology, as well as conduct ground breaking research in the same field. She is also excited about her life-long commitment to help Hispanic communities improve their quality of life and health. As secretary and member of the Latino Medical Student Association, she is happy to contribute to the Latino community by creating awareness in health related issues.
1.Rock L Cheryl, Doyle Colleen, Demark-Wahnefried Wendy, et al. “Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors.” A Cancer Journal for Clinicians”. 2012 Jul-Aug;62(4):243-74