Dear Dr. Sangani,

I recently heard you at one of your community talks about what kind of exercises to do. I never heard from you on who should be exercising. I am in good shape, and I am happy just the way I am. Why should I exercise? – Averse to Exercise

Dear Averse to Exercise,

I cannot remember where you heard me talk about exercise. In any case, I pulled out all the questions which are normally asked of me, and I hope that the next time I see you, you will have started exercising.

Q: Why should I exercise?
A: Exercise makes you feel better physically and emotionally. You will look better, reduce your risk of illness, reduce stress, and even live longer.

Q: Do I have to be an athlete to get all the benefits of exercise?
A: Even short regular doses of moderate exercise can give you a healthier heart, help keep cholesterol under control, strengthen your bones, and keep you flexible so you will avoid pain and injury.

Q: l am happy with the way I look now. What can I do to maintain my look?
A: Minutes of brisk walking or similar exercise five to seven days a week will maintain your look. If you want to spend less time exercising, you need to exercise more vigorously, but the good news is that the effects will be similar.

Q: How do I know what kind of exercise is good for me?
A: For overall health and fitness, the exercise program should include aerobic exercise, strengthening exercises and flexibility training. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends walking, jogging or cycling (aerobics) for at least 20 to 60 minutes three to five days a week, and then do one set of 10 repetitions in eight to ten different lifts two to three times per week with the balance of exercise time spent on flexibility routines.

Q: Can you explain the difference between aerobic exercise and endurance training?
A: There is no difference between the two. Aerobic exercise burns fat and by repeatedly working large muscle groups over a period of time. The idea is to raise your heart rate well above the resting level to your target heart rate. This makes your heart pump blood harder and makes your lungs work harder, too. As your heart and lungs become accustomed to the increased capacity, your endurance will certainly increase.

Q: What exactly is aerobic exercise?
A: Any activity that raises our heart rate and keeps it up is considered aerobic exercise.

Q: What are some of the examples of aerobic exercise?
A: Running, fast walking (4 mph), bicycling, step or stair climbing, dancing, cross country skiing, swimming, and rowing.

Q: Does walking have an advantage over other forms of exercise?
A: Yes. Walking is associated with low dropout rate and easily tolerated exercise intensity in fewer orthopedic and musculoskeletal problems of walking can improve heart and lung fitness, improve blood and fat profile, and reduce body weight and fat stores.

Q: Can regular exercise make me immune from heart disease?
A: No. It does not make you immune from heart disease, but it may help in reducing the severity and reducing certain other risk factors, and reduce the risk of heart attack but not eliminate it. The other benefit would be that if you do have a heart attack, and you are generally in better shape, your chances of recovery would be much more enhanced and faster than if you have not been exercising.

Q: How much exercise is too much?
A: If you have difficulty talking while exercising then you are exercising too hard.

Q: What are the indications to stop exercising?
A: If you feel fluttering sensation in the heart, chest discomfort, or feeling light-headed, stop exercising and rest.