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Let the Horses Out of the Paddock

A patient was in with me the other day and I asked her if she had been getting any exercise. She said that, because the kids were away, she was because she had to take the horses out. It struck me that this is a somewhat common response from people though most of the time it is the dog making them walk.

This would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. We have gotten so out of touch with our bodies and our genetic make-up that we have forgotten that we need exercise as a matter of course just like the horse, the dog, the hamster on the wheel, or even the goldfish. Now let’s be clear about a few things, going to the grocery store and walking up and down the aisles isn’t really exercise. It’s better than ordering your groceries online but I’ll bet you don’t work up a sweat too often at the grocery store.

So what can we do about it? Remember that we too are in the bodies of animals and that the body we occupy needs to exercise. I’ve owned a number of dogs in my life but I’ve only had one body to call my own. If I fail to exercise my dog, I’ll be no crueler to it than I am to myself for not exercising. Be an animal!! Get up and start exercising. I recommend some form of aerobic exercise (walking, running, cycling) along with a type of resistance exercise (weights, stretch bands, etc.). Try to do each type twice a week (total of four) for up to an hour. On the other days, try to get in 20 minutes of walking if possible. Set a goal that is doable so you aren’t setting yourself up for failure. If that means getting up from the computer, putting your coat on, stepping out the door, and then going right back inside, so be it. It’s a start. You can work upwards from there.

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