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I've never exercised before - why should I start now?

Fitness and nutrition · Mar 10, 2020

Most people know that exercising can help you lose weight — yet many of the other benefits of exercising often go unnoticed.

After all, some people have made it through 40, 50 or even 60 years without exercising regularly. But it’s never too late to start reaping the benefits of regular movement.

Why is exercise important?

Exercise is a powerful medicine that helps reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression, anxiety and dementia1. You can decrease your risk of dying prematurely from any cause by 30 per cent1 and decrease your risk of dying from heart disease by 50 per cent if you are physically fit2.

The World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as one of the most important modifiable risk factors to reduce the incidence of chronic disease. Despite the harms of physical inactivity, only 16 per cent of Canadian adults meet the Canadian physical activity guideline of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week3. Only 40 per cent of Canadian children and youth aged five to 17 meet their physical activity target of 60 minutes per day3.

How do you get started?

  1. Change the way you perceive exercise. Exercise is not just a way to lose weight or gain muscle. Keeping health-related goals in mind such as lowering blood pressure or cholesterol can give you a whole new perspective on the importance of exercise.

  2. Find an activity or exercise you enjoy doing. Consider trying a new sport or something you’ve been wanting to learn. Studies show that participants are more likely to exercise when they engage in activities they enjoy, rather than exercising in the name of appearance and weight-related goals.

  3. Use an exercise tracker for positive feedback. Research has demonstrated that when exercise creates a positive response, like achieving a set goal, people will seek to reproduce those feelings by engaging in the behaviour again.

  4. Find a workout buddy. Finding someone to workout with — even virtually — not only makes physical activity a social experience, but it also helps with accountability.

Still not sure how to get started?

Starting to exercise after years of inactivity can be a daunting task. Talk to your Care Centre kinesiologist or personal trainer to help you get started on the right track and help maximize your results.

1 Radcliffe, S. 2020. “Staying Physically Active May Lower Your Risk of Death by 30%”

2 European Society of Cardiology. 2016. “Moderate physical activity linked with 50 percent reduction in cardiovascular death in over-65s: The cardiovascular risks of modern life.” ScienceDaily.

3 Statistics Canada. 2019. “Tracking physical activity levels of Canadians, 2016 and 2017.”

Authored by:
Dana Permann
Kinesiologist, TELUS Health Care Centres