|from the American Trails Organization|
So what to do with all those pre-printed prescription pads?
I recently discovered that I can write prescriptions for exercise and patients take the recommendation more seriously. After all, I explain, exercise will often get you healthy as much as an antibiotic or a diet. And we know that it prevents all kinds of diseases and ailments including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis.
For an overweight person who is not exercising I now recommend my own version of "interval training" which according to the Mayo Clinic simply means this:
It's not as complicated as you might think. Interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity.
Take walking. If you're in good shape, you might incorporate short bursts of jogging into your regular brisk walks. If you're less fit, you might alternate leisurely walking with periods of faster walking. For example, if you're walking outdoors, you could walk faster between certain mailboxes, trees or other landmarks.
I will start with a simple prescription for twenty minutes of walking three times a week. I suggest making the 10-15 minute period in the workout very fast paced or up a hill or set of stairs. How do you know if you are working intensely enough? Simple. Push yourself for those five minutes until you are out of breath and cannot carry on a conversation with an exercise partner. Then spend the last five minutes cooling down.
- increased aerobic capacity
- mental health benefits
- increased ability to keep up
- urge to exercise sets in (after 2-3 weeks)
- possible weight loss
- improved tone