This article was written by Sarah Henry, Owner of Mission Peak Fitness.
What if I told you there was a “magic product” that could solve most of your health problems? If it was a pill, would you buy it? How much would you be willing to spend? How excited would you be to find a single solution for preventing or reversing obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, depression, many types of cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, chronic pain, arthritis and metabolic syndrome? It will even give you more energy and improve your sex life! The good news is, this “magic product” exists, and it is accessible to everyone…. It’s called “EXERCISE”!
Since the benefits of exercise are so great, why are we in the middle of an “obesity epidemic”, along with all the chronic degenerative diseases that are linked with obesity? We all seem to know that we “should” exercise. Could it be there are too many choices? Here in the Tri-City area, there are at least nine large fitness clubs to choose from, with their huge and bewildering array of weight machines for those who understand them and rows of treadmills and ellipticals for those who don’t. The sad truth is, less than 10% of people who purchase a gym membership are still actively using it after 3 months! Of those who stick with it, many do so without obtaining the results they desire. Many home programs, such as Insanity and P90X, are so advanced that many people either get injured or just give up. Without education, inspiration, and motivation, most people are quickly discouraged on their fitness journey. The benefits to regular exercise are so great, and the consequences of not exercising are so dire, it saddens me that it is such a struggle for so many people.
At St. Rose Hospital, where I worked as a Registered Dietitian, a physician shared with me his concern for the Indian, Latino and African-American communities that are “being devastated by metabolic syndrome” (a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes; risks factors including extra weight around the middle and insulin resistance.) Exercise and diet play a significant role in the prevention of metabolic syndrome, but often problems are treated with medications that don’t address the fundamental causes of disease. Studies have shown that walking just 20 minutes per day can have a dramatic effect in improving health…. and you can get the benefit even if you break it into two-10 minute sessions! If you don’t take away anything else from reading this, please, please start walking every day!
What if you are ready for more? The biggest trend in fitness today is group exercise, including Zumba, Yoga, Boot Camps, kickboxing, BodyPump and many others, offered at YMCA’s, community centers and health clubs across the country. Group classes provide coaching on proper technique in a supportive, motivating environment. The most important factor is to choose something you enjoy! You won’t stick with a program that is too challenging or just doesn’t fit your style. Try to choose a facility that is convenient, courteous, clean and cost-effective. You can utilize www.yelp.com to research classes in your area, and you can check out the Better Business Bureau to make sure the facility is reputable. If you aren’t having fun and feeling welcome and supported, find a better fit! Fitness should be fun and enjoyable so that it is easily incorporated into your lifestyle. Bringing a friend or a family member will increase your chance of success, as will incorporating a consistent nutrition program from your fitness center, physician or a Registered Dietitian. Always remember… Fitness should be fun! All the magic of exercise is available to you right now…. Just reach out and go get it- the benefits are yours for a lifetime!
Sarah Henry is one of the owners of Mission Peak Fitness in the Irvington District of Fremont. She has a BS in Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics from UC Berkeley, is a Registered Dietitian, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a Massage Therapist. She opened Mission Peak Fitness in 2010 with Vince Hall, where they have a diverse offering of classes including Boot Camps, Les Mills Bodypump, Zumba, Yoga and Pilates.