Health News of Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Source: Dr Essel
Everyone appears to be discussing elections these days. Some arguments sound reasonable while others do not make the cut but the good news is that over the past few weeks our dear country seems to be experiencing a very serene atmosphere. This must have something to do with the 24/7 prayer schedules. Will the presidential debates make a difference this year? I doubt it but it certainly prepares us for more exciting times in the near future. Peace in the world and in Sikaman creates an ideal environment for us to keep healthy, so though no presidential candidate is emphasizing(mentioned in passing) preventive medicine in our dear country we will continue to do our bit. Building more government hospitals may not be the number 1 option for us over the next four years.
Elections come once in four years but following an exercise routine is an everyday affair. Election or no election we need to keep healthy and the question pops up quite often – “when is the best time to exercise?” I can’t do any better than my good friends at Nestle put it - “everytime is ideal time” to exercise but like George Orwell’s 1945 classic ANIMAL FARM where he writes “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” I will say make time to exercise in a 24-hour day and you will reap benefits but those who exercise in the morning may have a little edge (more equal) over the others.
In my experience, whenever I exercise in the morning I am able to maintain a level of consistency that is often missing when I shift to the evenings. I also know others who exercise in the evenings and are consistent and frankly they amaze me. If you have difficulty sleeping then exercising late in the afternoon may be a good idea since you benefit from the dip in core temperature that may promote sleep.
If you have difficulty choosing an ideal exercise time then pick the morning slot because it may make you feel more alert and productive all day. When you exercise in the morning, you also tend to me more consistent because you get it out of the way early before the day heats up and many unexpected events or even fatigue force you to skip your workout session. This does not mean exercising in the morning is easy; it needs commitment and effort. Imagine waking up about forty-five minutes before your regular wake-up time, painful but worth every minute.
Here are a few tips that will help you achieve your goal of exercising in the morning:
1. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare
a. Waking up early can be challenging especially at the beginning, so make life easier on yourself; put out your clothes, trainers, quick breakfast and everything you may need for your workout the night before. You will not lose precious time searching for your stuff at dawn and you may not have an excuse to skip exercising.
2. Communicate your plans
a. Human as we are, we hate others to see us fail. Put yourself under a little pressure by telling friends, family and even work colleagues about your new exercise programme. Some people will check on you to encourage you while others will be waiting to see you give up. Well both scenarios will motivate you to work hard.
3. Get an exercise partner
a. Who wants to be thought of as unreliable? I doubt if many people set out to acquire that label. Get an exercise buddy, who is someone you exercise with. It could be at home, in your neighbourhood or in a gym. You will hate to keep this person waiting so neither will you turn up late nor not show up at all. Since you will not want to disappoint your exercise partner, you are likely to make all efforts to wake up and get to your meeting place. Others even form social groups in their gyms or keep fit clubs and your “colleagues” may sometimes call to find out why you could not make it to your exercise session.
4. Set Goals
a. Life seems to follow the same principles whether you are at home, planning your future, growing your business or keeping healthy. If you do not have goals then it is easy to abandon your exercise programme. Set goals either for a year or even six months but break it down to weekly expectations. Do write these goals down since you are more likely to follow them when you can read them. You could start with; I will wake up at 4.45am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and exercise for 45 minutes before eating breakfast.
5. Move your alarm
a. Sleep certainly can feel good especially when the cool morning breeze tickles you. You do not need to be a Lotus Eater to experience this bliss. Many mornings I hit the snooze button on my alarm at least three times and I know I have company. To make life a little more difficult kindly place your alarm at a point where you will need to get out of bed and walk over to put it off. This may be the motivation you need to get out of bed and stay out.
6. List your excuses
a. Many of us mere mortals will not make a perfect score when it comes to our exercise programme. Some weeks we will manage to exercise virtually every day that we have listed in our goals but at other times we will be struggling to make even a 50% appearance. We can still make the best out of our bad weeks; write out your exercise excuse for each day you skip your programme. Now you know your weaknesses and you can work them into your own list of ways to increase the chances that you will exercise.
7. Reward your efforts
a. Many of us like food and drinks. We eat and drink when we are happy and do the same when we are supposed to be sad or stressed or even angry. You can do many things but please do NOT reward yourself with food when you make a perfect score on exercise appearance and performance. New clothes, a movie or even a book could pass.
I believe that every time is an ideal time to exercise but whenever you are in doubt and have options go for a morning exercise to jump-start your metabolism and your day.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club
*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.
Thought for the week –“Listen to your body whenever you exercise. IF you hurt, don’t quit; just back off.”
1. 10 Ways to Get Motivated for a Morning Workout
2. Animal Farm – George Orwell
3. Fitness Therapy.- Dr Karl Knopf, EdD.