Exercise For the New Year: What’s fact, and what’s fiction?

Robert Walker, Program Director at ‘Ekahi
Photo: Woman Exercising

Wellness Tips Adapted from Ornish Living Magazine

If your New Year’s resolution for 2018 is to lose weight, you’re not alone! Losing weight was the #1 New Year’s resolution in 2017. In second place came life improvement, in third came better financial decisions, and in fourth: quit smoking. Believe it or not, three out of these four big New Year’s goals can be accomplished with exercise. Sadly, exercise is not believed to help you make better financial decisions.

It’s no surprise then that fitness centers see a large growth in membership every January. But before you dive headfirst into your new exercise routine, let’s review a few common exercise facts and myths!

Myth #1: The more limber you are, the better.

“Flexibility is certainly important, and you should be flexible enough to do the things you need or want to do without being uncomfortable,” says Jo A. Hannafin, MD, PhD, the orthopedic director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “But there is no health benefit in having a hyper flexible body or being able to twist yourself into a pretzel just for the sake of doing so.”

Myth #2: Perspiration and a high heart rate are signs of a good work out.

A workout that leaves you soaked in sweat doesn’t necessarily qualify as heart-healthy. The best cardio exercise is a rhythmic, dynamic activity that utilizes large muscle groups for 20 minutes at a minimum. “If you are mildly breathless but can carry on a conversation, you are working at a moderately intense pace, which is what you want,” says DeSimone of the American College of Sports Medicine.

And now for the facts: regular physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease by 40%, reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s by 40%, reduce depression as effectively as Prozac, and be twice as effective in treating type II diabetes than the standard insulin prescription. But if there’s one thing to keep in mind, joining a gym for hardcore workouts isn’t necessarily the path to a healthy heart – especially as nearly 80% of those who join a gym in January quit within five months. Consistent, maintainable exercise that fits your daily routine is the true path to wellness. For 2018, find the exercise plan that works for you and your heart!

On behalf of the team at ‘Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, we wish you a Hau’oli Makahiki Hou and our best wishes for a healthy and happy year ahead.

‘Ekahi Health, a member of the ‘ike family of companies (www.ikehawaii.com), is an innovative healthcare delivery organization that provides comprehensive community-based care focusing on primary care and prevention and wellness. It was the first organization to offer the Ornish program to the people of Hawaii.

For more information about ‘Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, visit www.ekahiornish.com and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.