Are you ready for the cliche? It’s exercise. In an extensive review of past studies and patient data, exercise was as good if not better than prescribed medications—for heart disease, stroke recovery, prediabetes and more.
That doesn’t mean skip the medications (although if you start exercising before there’s a problem, you might never need to be prescribed them!) it means don’t let a free, easy tool go to waste. You can dramatically improve your health, quality of life, and life expectancy with one simple activity each day.
Start by talking to your doctor, especially if you already have health concerns. It’s important that you be cleared for exercise, and know what your doctor thinks your physical limitations are (she might recommend walking over running if you have a heart condition or swimming over biking if you have joint pain, for instance).
Then get started! You don’t have to put on sweats or work yourself numb. Start small—if you live or work close to an errand, try walking instead of driving. Or park further away. Go for a walk in the evenings, or get up early for one.
Really, twenty minutes of moderate exercise is pretty easy to sneak into your day. If you need some positive reinforcement, get a pedometer or download some apps that will help you keep track.
And don’t forget to play! If walking sounds boring, grab a friend and hit a local put put course, tennis court, or frisbee golf course. Or try joining a community activity at the gym.
The return on investment for those twenty minutes will be years on your life, in quantity and quality, and probably a lower medical bill!
Share your exercise routine in the comments!