Beyond Fitness Fads – Practical and Realistic Exercise Tips

Attention men: how many of you have fallen for the latest fitness fad? Perhaps you’ve spent money on trending workout regimens or pricey exercise equipment shown on popular infomercials. You push yourself hard – perhaps too hard – for a week or two, and then quit your workouts as life intervenes.

Exercise is one of the most important ways to stay healthy. But we must be practical and realistic when it comes to our physical activity. Age might prevent us from working out as vigorously as we once did. Illnesses, injuries and chronic conditions might limit the exercises we can do. For example, instead of a few reps with heavy weights, do more reps with lighter weights.

How can we stay active, but also be safe, practical and realistic in our approach? Read on for some helpful tips.

The Basics

  • The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems.

  • Even moderate exercise has health benefits. You don’t need that high-intensity workout celebrities and professional athletes have on their blogs. Instead aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five days a week – and stick to it.

  • Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

  • Short on long chunks of time? Even brief bouts of activity offer benefits. For instance, if you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk during the day, try a few five-minute walks instead. Any activity is better than none at all. What’s most important is making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle.

  • Try brisk walks, light aerobics or even yard work. Do something you enjoy. Perhaps even take your significant other dancing – it’s not only fun, but exercise too.

  • Always check with your doctor before starting any new physical routine. Read here about how your doctor can create an exercise plan catered to your specific interests and lifestyle.

As You Age

  • Exercise might become more difficult as you age. Talk to your doctor or one of our health coaches for tips on less-strenuous physical activity.

  • Some exercises might lead to injury. Avoid heavy lifting and running on treadmills.

  • Stay fit with walks, age-appropriate exercise classes and household and outdoor chores. Play with grandkids. Check out the videos on our Facebook page for fun exercise and fitness demos.

Consider Your Conditions

  • If you have diabetes, make sure to check your blood sugar before exercising. You might need an extra snack if it’s too low. Make sure to take a break right away if you start feeling dizzy.

  • Arthritis? Don’t do exercises that place too much stress on your joints. Consider swimming and water aerobics.

  • Osteoporosis? Don’t risk broken bones. Exercises should be low impact. Consider long walks with friends or family.

Save Money

  • If you’re thinking about joining a gym or fitness center as they re-open, we offer our members cost-saving discounts:

    • For our members on commercial plans, the Active&Fit Direct™ program additionally offers membership at 10,000+ fitness centers nationwide for only $25 a month (plus a $25 enrollment fee and applicable taxes).

    • Medicare Advantage member? Go to any gym or fitness center of your choice and get paid back up to $360 a year with our fitness benefit, Be Fit.

  • Check out Memorial Health System’s blog piece about exercising on a budget.


  • Need the motivation to exercise? Read why it helps to have a workout partner.

  • Looking for inspiration? Read these success stories from Memorial Weight Loss and Wellness Center about men – and women – who used exercise and diet to become healthier.

It’s never too late to begin exercising. Read how one retiree began to focus on fitness, in this article from Virginia Mason Health System. You too can start your commitment to better health right now.

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