Embracing 3 Simple Rules for Health

Todd Weitzenberg, MD, is hitting the road through December to bring his talk on the benefits of exercising and eating well to employees throughout KP Northern California.

By Lynn Mundell

Dr. Weitzenberg, chief of the Sports Medicine Program at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa and co-chair of KP’s Sports Medicine Regional Peer Group, is partnering with Regional Health Education and Live Well Be Well to deliver the talks.


Todd Weitzenberg, MD

During a recent stop at the regional offices in downtown Oakland, his presentation, called “Get Moving — Change Your Life,” mixed personal stories with some cold, hard facts to make a persuasive case for keeping one’s health front and center. Whet your appetite with this sample from his talk, then make the time to hear him first-hand in your area — and bring your questions!

Exercise is the best medicine. Studies show that regular exercise reduces depression, risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, hot flashes, night sweats, erectile dysfunction, and cancers ranging from breast to prostate!

It increases bone density, muscle mass, heart circulation, mobility in senior years, and overall energy. If all of these health benefits came in a pill, people would go anywhere and pay anything to get it. But any of us can have this for free, starting now.

Find something you love, making it easy and fun to work out. Walk the dog, bike to your office, take yoga with your friends. Just find your thing.

Understand what — and how — you are eating. A little muffin can seem like a reasonable reward for your tough workout, right? But consider this: To burn off those 360 calories, you would need to jog 33 minutes, bicycle 77 minutes, or lift weights 115 minutes!

Instead, reach for a rainbow of health foods, from green peppers to purple plums. Watch your carbs and get enough protein. Don’t skip breakfast; you need that fuel to start your day. Choose healthy fats by swapping that muffin for an avocado. Overall, steer away from sugar, salt, and alcohol.

Chart your course, and stick with it. No one likes the scale. But studies show that people who weigh themselves even just once a week are more successful in keeping off those extra pounds. The quest is health, not perfection. You just need to find your best you.

Where do you begin? First, give yourself a goal. It might be to fit into your Levis again. Or perhaps to run your first 5K. Then start right away. Try some tricks such as reminders on your computer monitor or fridge. Then tell friends and family about your goal, so they support you. Aim for good foods and daily physical activity. A little a lot is better than a lot a little. Set small goals, then reward yourself with new workout clothes or other healthy gifts when you reach milestones.

If you can eat a largely healthy diet and exercise a minimum of 30 minutes, five days a week, you are going to see some good results. Make it a priority. You are worth it!