Recently Carmen Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., Chair of Mayo Clinic Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation joined Aliza Lifshitz, M.D., as her guest on Life and Health, Chatting with Dra. Aliza radio show. The program is heard over 270 radio stations affiliated with the Hispanic Communications Network in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
The segment was broadcast in Spanish and you can hear the entire interview here. What follows are highlights of their discussion.
Dr. Aliza began by noting that many people do not exercise and she wanted to know what the first thing is that people should focus on when starting an exercise routine.
Dr. Terzic emphasized the multiple benefits of exercise. “Exercising isn’t just about losing weight and looking better, but also to build up muscle,” says Dr. Terzic. “Not everybody does exercise to look Arnold Schwarzenegger, but a routine of exercise brings some benefits to the human body. One of them is to control cholesterol lipids and cardiovascular diseases.”
“People who exercise regularly live ten-years longer than those who don’t,” says Dr. Terzic. “Because of this there shouldn’t be any reason why people shouldn’t exercise.”
It can be difficult to start an exercise routine when folks have never exercised before and that is why Dr. Terzic believes people should choose an activity that they enjoy doing and to place it on their daily schedule.
Even if folks cannot devote an hour to exercise, the solution is to keep active during the day, take the stairs, park your car farther away and do what you can to avoid sitting.
“The important thing is to do at least 30-to-40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day” says Terzic. If that means dividing the activity into 10-or-15 minute blocks, that is acceptable as well.
The discussion then turned to starting an exercise routine without hurting yourself, especially if you’ve never really exercised regularly before.
Dr. Terzic recommends that people who are between theages of 40-and-50 (or those with a pre-existing medical condition) should consult their physician before starting any exercise routine.
“But if they are healthy person they should start progressively, 10-to-15 minutes a day, then progress until they can do the 30-40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day,” says Terzic.
She believes that a brief warm-up and cool-down are important along with stretching and drinking plenty of water.
Dr. Terzic is not a believer in the common saying “no pain, no gain” when it comes to exercise. “Pain means there’s something abnormal going on and people should learn to listen to their body,” she says. “I think people realize and understand when is a good or bad pain. If they feel bad pain, they should stop the exercise immediately and consult with their physician.”
“There is no excuse not to exercise,” says Terzic. “I tell my patients everyday, ‘do you watch T-V, do you watch the news?’ And when they say yes, I encourage them to watch it while doing exercise. if you don’t have equipment, just stand up and move your legs and arms, try to be active—up and down.”
Dr. Terzic’s final take-away for listeners was to remind them “there are a lot of ways to exercise, the key is to keep active, exercise is the best medicine currently in the world.”
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