Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

The Time Is Now: One word for better health–exercise.

If you have heard it once, you have heard it a million times—exercise is good for you.

Exercise is good for your heart, lungs, muscles, brain and much more. So why then do people not take action? Why do we have so many cases of preventable chronic health conditions in this country?

Unfortunately, we (generally speaking) are great at coming up with reasons or excuses not to do something—even if it is for our own benefit. Let’s start counting the excuses: time, work, family, fatigue, an ache, pain or injury. Shall I go on? Which one of these do you use?

Many view exercise as too time consuming or too hard. People are not willing to work through that initial muscle soreness phase when starting a new program. And we do not put in enough time to actually make it a healthy habit (that takes about six weeks to happen, by the way).

But shouldn’t our health be the most important thing? Without good health, what good can we be to others who depend upon us?

The right answer obviously is that nothing is more important than our health. Without it, we would be unable to take care of our kids, our elderly parents or significant others. We would become less effective at completing simple daily tasks and work. What would happen if you could no longer fulfill all your roles and someone had to take care of you?

This is scary to think about, but it often gets people to take the necessary steps to become healthier. They finally decide to address those nagging aches or pains, to start taking a Pilates or yoga class, to work with a personal trainer for guidance and support, or to treat themselves to a massage.

For chronic health conditions, we know, without a doubt, that exercise can help reduce the likelihood of getting and reduce the impact of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and even dementia. Who wouldn’t want to prevent things like these or even lessen the burdens and complications that often come with them?

If you are ready for a change, then let’s get to it. Plan for success, enlist a friend to provide the necessary accountability, seek the help you need to achieve your goals. Do not let another year pass saying, “I will get in better shape and do something good for my health.” The time is now.

Dr. Andrew Zang is board certified in orthopedics and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapists. For more information, call 717-440-6197 or visit

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