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How, when, where to start exercising

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Dr. Antronette Yancey

What’s the best exercise? The one you’ll actually do.

Where do I find the time? 10 minutes at a time.

How do I know what to do? Try doing it with friends, co-workers, or with other people in a class. Try that exercise you’ve always wanted to do, or just one you can get to. Go for a walk. Try a yoga class full of beginners on the same quest as you. Get your co-workers moving during a coffee break.

Get moving for just 10 minutes three times a day, “that’s all you need”, according to UCLA’s Dr. Antronette Yancey. Toward that end, Dr. Yancey has developed “Lift Offs!”, 10-minute routines to do at work in the morning and afternoon. Add in a 10-minute session at home, and you’ve got the prescribed 30 minutes a day.

Don’t feel bad if you are one of those who would rather just sit and have a coffee during your break. That’s the way humans are wired, Dr. Yancey told UCLA Today. We are made to conserve energy, not to exercise. Now that we don’t need that energy for raising or hunting food, though, we’ve got find a way to exercise, she says.

From her Web site, you can download a video featuring the NFL’s Allen Rossum, with appearances of players from the LA Sparks and other pro players. Or pick up music routines with names like “Cumbia Lift Off”, “African Dance Lift Off”, or “Gospel Lift Off”.

Does something like yoga sound just too tough? Try a beginning Iyengar yoga class. A 2007 study followed students in an Iyengar yoga class and an exercise class for six months. The study by KE Flegal et al., found average attendance in the yoga classes was 77% and in the exercise classes was 69%. In both groups, attending class reduced depression and fatigue. Exercise also helps ease anxiety.

Is yoga just for some hyper-flexible supermodel? Nope. This study from faculty at two Oregon institutions followed seniors 65-85 years old. Yoga is exercise anybody can do.

Getting to class more often also translated to doing more at home, according to this randomized study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

And follow-up at home is a big part of getting active and getting healthy, whether it’s trying Dr. Yancey’s routines or a simple yoga poses for 10 minutes.

 More info: Dr. Yancey has taken her Lift Off! program into workplaces. Read more in UCLA Today. Download a video or audio from her site. Find beginning Iyengar yoga classes at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles.

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