Get Fit & Stay Fit

The 150-Minute Miracle

Oct 09, 2015

By Victor S. Sierpina, MD

Research in lifestyle medicine shows that just 150 minutes a week significantly lowers all cause morbidity from conditions of the heart, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other modern day killers.

Yet you may know personally how hard it is to change old habits. It is estimated that as many as 60% of the American public gets NO regular exercise. So how do you keep at it, week by week to reach that golden 150 minutes? Here are a few proven tips:

  • Start off slow, then ease off. Nothing can break your rhythm to be more active than an early injury so work up to your goal gradually, more slowly than you think you need to. Adding even a five minutes extra per day may be an appropriate level for increasing fitness related activities.
  • Vary your program. Boredom can be a killer to a fitness plan. Mix up your weekly routine by incorporating a range of activities. Aerobics one day, maybe some dance, yoga, or tai chi the next; on other days, light weights or stretch bands, an exercycle or other machine, some sports like tennis, basketball, or soccer, perhaps swimming or water exercise. In other words, have several options that keep things interesting and you motivated.
  • Plan for the unexepected. Rain, cold, heat, mosquitoes, and especially busy schedules, work and home stress can all interfere with your new program. Plan for this by building in natural exercises like walking. Park that car further from the store or office. Too hot? Try some water exercises in the pool. Too cold? Have some indoor activity at home or the gym that works easily for you.
  • Get social. Meeting up with a work-out buddy, joining a fitness class, finding a tennis partner and so on helps you and others by having a shared goals and committing to be together to exercise rather than always toughing it out alone.
  • Try some feedback. A variety of wearable technologies are now available to help you keep track of your activity. This is a way of marking your progress and keeping you honest. Fitbit, Jawbone, etc., it doesn’t matter. Feedback keeps you going. Perhaps the simplest and cheapest is just a simple pedometer. Work your way up by 500 steps a week until you are a 10,000 steps a day, or 12-15,000 if you are trying to lose weight.