Dr. Dean Ornish introduces the fitness element of the Ornish Program, which focuses on doing activities that you enjoy. Learn more about developing a sustainable fitness routine through the Ornish Program: ornish.com/proven-program/fitness/
Dean Ornish: "What's the best exercise? It's the one you enjoy, because if you like it, you'll do it. If it's fun, it's sustainable. And part of the value of exercise is that you feel better very quickly. When you exercise, it causes your body to release what's called endorphins that give you a great feeling of feeling good and even euphoria.
It's a great way of managing stress. It can enhance your immune system. It gives you more energy. Moderate exercise goes a long way. If you're able to talk while you're exercising, that's probably the right amount. If you're not able to, cut back a little bit.
If you want to do more, that's great. The more you exercise, the more activity you have, the more fit you become. But what gets people into trouble is when they're weekend warriors - when they're couch potatoes six days a week, and they go out and try to play full-court basketball or shovel snow on Sunday.
The more you move, the more you improve. So, if you want to do more, do it on a consistent, regular basis. Otherwise, a little goes a long way.
Try to incorporate it into your daily life - then it's sustainable. I used to get upset when I couldn't find a parking place near the gym. I thought, 'That's kind of ridiculous.' So, I intentionally park a little farther away now. I take the stairs one or two flights. So you don't have to keep track of how many mets you're expending, how many calories you're burning. Whatever you're doing, do a little more.
Many people don't realize that walking a mile burns at least as many calories as running a mile. It may take you longer, but it actually burns more calories because you're not just burning the sugar, you're burning the fat as well.
And it turns out that just walking 20 or 30 minutes a day, and not even all that fast or even all at once, can cut your risk of premature death in half, as well as making you feel better, enhancing your immune function, helping you lose weight - all the good things that you know exercise can do.
If you're on the Reversing Heart Disease program, walk or other exercise for about 30 minutes a day or for an hour three times a week.
A little goes a long way. And if you like it, you'll do it."