I Hate It – But It Loves Me Back

Health Classes MA North Shore

Let me be frank: I hate exercise. Always have and always will.
In case you now find yourself disappointed in me – please keep reading.
I believe I’m a much better role model than all those “perfect exercisers,”
who don their squeaky-clean sneakers 24/7/365 and are out there rain or shine, with a big satisfied grin on their faces. It’s easy for THEM.

Not for me.

I hate exercise. I loathe it… but I LOVE the way I feel afterward.
And, no, there exists no pill that can give me that same feeling.
Unless you want to get high the illegal way. But, I don’t suggest it.

So why am I the better role model for you?

Because I exercise, despite the fact that I don’t like it.

Do you wash your hands after relieving yourself in the bathroom? I hope you do, since hand washing revolutionized medicine and public health, when it was finally linked to the transmission of some of the deadliest infections.

Do you brush and floss your teeth at least once a day? I hope you do, since oral hygiene goes WAY beyond healthy teeth and gums, and is tightly linked to heart, brain and general organ health. It is, I promise…

That’s how exercise/physical activity is. It simply reduces mortality. The research is unequivocal and earth shattering. Sure, there’s no such thing (yet) as immortality, but we all want to be around for as long as humanly possible, right? Right!

In an era when the majority of exercise is obtained by running fingers over keyboards and pressing one’s foot on the gas pedal, physical activity – its presence, or lack thereof – has been irrevocably identified and linked to disease prevention and reversal.

And we don’t need much of it.

150 minutes a week. 30 minutes five times a week. That’s what studies have shown to make a DRAMATIC and MAJOR impact on your overall physical (and heck, mental) health.

I am not talking athletics here. You don’t need to find yourself training to be an Olympian (unless you really like a challenge)… I prefer the term physical activity rather than exercise, since the latter may intimidate some who have not broken out in a sweat in a long time.

Sure, there are some clear criteria leading to the definition – but even housework that is intense enough to fulfill those criteria can count toward exercise.

Let me put things in perspective for you: You cannot exercise your way out of a crappy diet. Can’t be done. The research is sobering in that area. You cannot reverse or prevent disease with exercise alone without changing your diet for the better. In fact, the landmark studies on type 2 diabetes and heart disease reversal used a plant based, whole food, minimally processed, no added oils diet alone, just so the researchers could eliminate the “interference” from the exercise component, and make sure that all the benefits were indeed coming from the dietary changes.

BUT: exercise adds synergistic benefits to dietary changes that make the equation “1+1=3” more like “1+1=20.”

If you want to watch a great video on the benefits of physical activity, I highly recommend
23 ½ hours”. The content included therein saves me from listing them all here, and it’s short and entertaining.

The most important thing is to find the RIGHT physical activity for YOU. In lifestyle medicine, the only prescription my client-patient ever receives is the EXERCISE PRESCRIPTION. Because if it isn’t made to measure for YOU – you won’t do it. I know, I won’t.

So, how come I exercise despite the fact that I hate it? And, why (for a very long period of time in the past) didn’t I exercise regularly, despite ALL THE KNOWLEDGE I had? (That last part sounds familiar, right?)

The answer is this: I had to find my own way to exercise that turned it into a life activity that I actually enjoy, and therefore do not even regard as “exercise.”

In my case, it was fulfilling my long held dream of owning two large dogs. I love dogs, but my work schedule in the past would not permit me to do their needs justice. When I was finally ready to take on the responsibility of dog parenting, my life changed in the most dramatically possible way. How? Well, if you have two large dogs, you need to get out there! Every day! And as far as my dogs are concerned: the colder the better! ARGH! What no gym and no number of research studies could achieve, the dogs did. I’m out there, and these guys love to walk for miles! Win-Win.

But there’s more to it. I like goals, accountability, and data. And I’m very competitive. What really helps me in my daily efforts toward a healthy lifestyle is a little device I wear that measures steps taken, floors climbed, calories burned, and miles walked. I am not telling you the device name, because I do not want to advertise for it. This is not something that is right for everyone. For some a simple pedometer will do, or a workout buddy. My point is: GET TO KNOW YOURSELF. Don’t let others tell you what to do. Ask yourself, ‘what do I like? What would it take for ME to get more active, and do better?’

If you can’t explore this alone, ask me. I’d love to help you find the answers, and achieve the best YOU, you can possibly be.

To make an appointment with Dr. Sigal, email info@nourishhealthforlife.com or call 978-744-5804.