Friday, September 16, 2011

How the plan of happiness includes exercise

Heavy Rena
I used to hate working out. Back in the day when I weighed my heaviest (221), the idea of working out put me in a literal sweat. Of course walking up the 5 steps of my townhouse stoop could make me wheeze and sweat like a marathon runner, so that's not saying much. When my gynocologist--a spry-looking fellow who sort of bounced around me like a hyper puppy as he consulted--told me I needed to exercise for 30 minutes a day 6-7 days a week in order to cure (or at the very least manage my insulin resistance), my first thought was that of panic. My second was "I'm sure he means for me to start smaller, right? He does know that I have a bad back, bad ankles, and bad knees, right? And that I have no time to be working out that much every week and day, right? Right?" And then the panic consumed me again.

Light Rena
Of course now that I'm down to 156 lbs.--The last 10 of which I lost courtesy of the Redbook Experiment--working out that often seems perfectly possible. I still may not have the time to work out that often, but I usually fit in 4 hard-core workouts and 2 relaxed workouts a week (I define "relaxed" as a leisurely walk with  my kids or gardening/yard work for an hour). The good news is that adjusting my diet and upping my exercise routine not only helped me lose 65 lbs., but it made me healthier. I no longer feel pain in my knees and ankles, and my back only gives me trouble during times of extreme stress. I was able to go off the Metaformin (my insulin resistance drugs; also the same drug given to type 2 diabetics) months after my diagnosis.

According to the September issue of REDBOOK, in an article entitled, "EXERCISE: IT'S NOT JUST FOR YOUR THIGHS!", the benefits of exercise are more than losing the junk in your trunk. Apparently, when a person words out for 30 minutes a day 5 times a week, your risk of heart disease and hypertension are lowered by 40%. It lowers your risk of breast cancer by 20%, depression by 30%, and type 2 diabetes by a whopping 58% (Halpert 108).

REDBOOK has "Better than nothing" workouts
for the reluctant exercisers.

You could hike a 5K with the Sasquatch.
It's surprising how many of those problems run my family and my husband's family. My dad had a heart attack, both my parents are diabetic,  and Rick's mom is diabetic. Cancer runs in both our families, and don't even get me started on depression! Some members of our families could be the face of a 1-800-I'M-DEPRESSED-AND-SELF-MEDICATING-WITH-FOOD hotline. I'd like to think that the healthy choices I make now will help change my medical family tree.  I don't ever want to discover that I got type 2 diabetes or heart disease because I couldn't be bothered to take a flipping walk with my kids a few days a week and downed sugary foods by the shovel-full. I also want my children to be informed and hopefully they too will be the recipients of good health and longevity.

The moral of the story: 
If you don't exercise, you're doing a disservice to yourself, your body, and your family. Stop reading this blog and go ride a bike or dance to that new Katy Perry song. I don't care what you do, but MOVE IT!

...It's ok to leave a comment before you go.


  1. Woo, hoo! Amen sista! I love your attitude on exercising and those stats are amazing. Thanks for blogging about your passion.

  2. Thanks, Zazzy. My kids have been sick for a couple of days, so I've been holed up in the house and am itching to go for a run. Instead I've been running on the treadmill, but it's not the same as running in this beautiful fall weather. Fingers crossed that they get better soon.


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