As part of the treatment plan after his stroke, his doctor prescribed a healthy lifestyle for my friend *William. He did not think he would have to make any changes. Then he talked to the dietitian and the therapist. He soon realized having a normal weight and going hunting and fishing did not equal a healthy lifestyle. He called to find out if their suggestions were really necessary.

William wanted to know how much exercise was enough. He just couldn’t imagine having to go to a gym every day and getting sweaty. I advised him that the American Heart Association recommended 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 days a week.[i] Personally this works for me. You don’t have to kill yourself and exercise becomes part of the work week. Weekends can be just for fun. All the exercise does not have to be done at once. You can split the exercise into 10 or 15 minutes intervals throughout the day if that is better for your schedule.

There are simple and cheap alternatives to joining a gym. You can check out your local television listings for an exercise show. The internet also has exercise programs you can use. The main thing is you have to participate on a regular basis. Watching the show or a youtube video doesn’t count as exercise. One of the best exercises is walking. No special equipment or clothing is needed. However, you do need to have a bad weather plan. This is one reason you see people walking in malls. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside. It is nice inside. You may want to leave your wallet at home.

One secret to having a healthy lifestyle is to make exercise a part of your daily routine. Choose a type you like and a time. Many people exercise first thing in the morning to get it out of the way. This doesn’t work for me but that is okay. I exercise at the end of the day. Some days I feel I am too tired but I exercise anyway. As a post exercise treat, I use my Resperate. Listening to soothing music after a workout washes the stress of my workday away. Not only do I feel better, I am taking care of my body.

*Names have been changed to respect privacy.

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