House Calls

SPR 2019

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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Page 41 of 54

h o u s e c a l l s { spring 2019 } 37 "COACH LOU'S" MOTIVATION CHECKLIST "I've joked that I feel more like football coach Lou Holtz than Lou Haenel sometimes because I talk more like a motivator or coach than a physician," says Dr. Haenel, who regularly prescribes exercise for his patients. While any extra movement throughout the day helps overall wellness—like parking farther away from the store or standing while you work—you won't tap into the magic of endorphins (or the long-term cardiovascular benefits of physical activity) unless you incorporate heart-pumping exercise into your weekly routine. Here, find Dr. Haenel's top tips for starting an exercise habit from scratch. R Focus on how you can instead of why you can't. "Everybody has stressors and time- consuming responsibilities, like taking care of the kids, taking care of a sick parent, or issues at work. You have to take ownership and make time for yourself for the benefit of your health." R Team up. "Find a neighbor, friend, coworker, or family member and do it together. That support network and accountability will help you get started, push yourself, and stick with it." R Don't let the weather dictate. "It's commonplace to hear excuses like 'it's too hot,' 'it's too cold,' 'it's too wet,' or 'it's too muggy.' If you don't want to exercise outdoors, go to a gym. And if you don't want to go to a gym, get a stationary bike or an elliptical machine, put it in front of the television, and watch 30 minutes of Jeopardy. All of a sudden—you're done." R Just do it. "I find myself quoting the Nike slogan all the time. I don't care if it's in the morning or at night. You may be busy with work during the week; give me one weeknight and Saturday and Sunday and you're there. If you hate it you won't do it, so find an activity you enjoy ... and just begin." HARNESSING ENDORPHINS' POWER So is there a magic formula when it comes to achieving those mood-boosting effects—and are they accessible to those of us who are running- averse? "It doesn't have to be running," says Dr. Haenel. "We call it a 'runners high' because jogging tends to be higher in intensity than other forms of exercise and the goal when tapping into endorphins is to challenge the body and get the heart rate up." However, that threshold—or point at which endorphins are released—is different from person to person. "You want to challenge your physical comfort zone with an elevated heart rate to create some bodily stress, but not so much that you become demotivated to continue," says Dr. Haenel. It's a sweet spot that can feel unobtainable to some, acknowledges Dr. Haenel. For a person who has aches and pains on a daily basis— perhaps as a symptom of a chronic condition like diabetes—it may seem like exercise, or vigorous movement, could add to that discomfort. But not so, says Dr. Haenel. "By definition, endorphins are a natural pain tamer. In most cases, when you work hard enough for your body to secrete them, you'll feel better and not worse." It boils down to finding what works for you and what you enjoy most, he says. Try cycling, rowing, or a dance-based aerobic workout like Zumba if running doesn't entice you. Studies have shown that high-intensity interval training (or HIIT) workouts can do the trick, too. For more support—and perhaps an extra dose of endorphins— try a synchronized group fitness class. (One study showed that synchronized training among a college rowing crew created a heightened endorphin surge compared with a similar training regime carried out alone.) "In a group you tend to work harder and with more sustainability, making it a win-win," says Dr. Haenel. The bottom-line great news is, when you truly exert yourself, a happier you could be just ahead. The American Heart Association's physical activity recommendations for adults include: at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes per week of high-intensity aerobic activity; in addition, moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (like resistance exercises or weights) at least two days per week. "After a long day, a workout feels like you went from crawling in the mud to standing on a hilltop looking down on a valley," says Jamal. Turn to page 48 for more on Jamal's journey.

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