Any good doctor will ask you if you're exercising regularly at annual checkups. Maybe you're able to proudly rattle off a list of the thrice-weekly yoga classes you're taking and treadmill miles you're clocking, or perhaps you find yourself hanging your head in shame once in a while and promising to exercise more.
Regardless of what camp you fall in, have you ever wondered how your doctor exercises? Are they getting 30 minutes of exercise five days per week, as recommended by the National Institutes of Health? To find out, we asked eight of mbg-approved doctors. Here's what they had to say.
A few minutes of any type of movement.
I used to be one of those yoga girls who did a 90-minute yoga class three or four times per week, schlepping my heavy-duty yoga mat with me to dinner at the Whole Foods salad bar. Then I grew up, had a baby, and got busy practicing psychiatry in Manhattan. Those days were quickly gone!
I struggled for a few years with the all-or-nothing exercise shuffle until I finally hit the right rhythm. I call it microcize (credit my better half for that term). I exercise for 5 to 20 minutes in my living room about two to four times per week. Sometimes I do a few Pilates exercises or yoga, maybe I'll hold plank pose for a minute, sometimes I dance along to Beyoncé Zumba classes on YouTube. I've learned over the years that anything I can realistically do is so much better than nothing.
I walk briskly for 5 miles around three to five times per week. On weekdays I walk with a friend for social support, and on weekends I walk with my husband. It's great for our marriage!
—Dr. Alice Domar, director of mind/body services at Boston IVF
Yoga and weightlifting.
I practice yoga daily even if it's just for a few minutes, and I make it to an hourlong class three times per week if I'm lucky—although since having a baby, time has been tight! I lift weights two times per week and do cardio at the gym for about 25 minutes once a week. Yoga for me is everything because it has the benefit of both being a workout and relaxing my busy mind at the same time.
Yoga and at-home exercise videos.
Exercise is my way to do something good for my body, mind, and soul. It helps reduce stress and gives me a boost of positive energy. Typically I work out five times per week, but what I do depends on my schedule. If I have time, I like to go to a toning or yoga class at the gym. If I'm busier, I do a 30-minute exercise video at home or in the hotel room. Shaun T and Tony Horton are my go-to online fitness instructors.
—Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, practicing psychologist and licensed physical therapist
Running and heated yoga classes.
I love running. I run three to four times per week and intersperse some hot yoga in between. Hot yoga in infrared heat is a great detox of the muscles, plus yoga maintains flexibility to keep injuries away. Running helps me clear my mind and move my body at the same time. I can often be found running and talking to myself—it's how I get my most inspired ideas! I am currently writing a book, so I decided to train for a marathon this year to keep the ideas and creativity flowing.
—Dr. Ilene Ruhoy, founder of the Center for Healing Neurology
Yoga, treadmill walking, barre, trampoline bouncing, and indoor cycling.
I start my day with yoga and meditation for 30 minutes—I usually just do a sacral release like supta virasana (reclining hero pose) for five minutes or a forward fold. I also walk 5 to 10 miles on my treadmill while writing Monday through Friday and spin every other day on my Peloton bike for 45 minutes.
While watching the NBA playoffs, I do exercise for lymph drainage (running on a trampoline) and mobility (sofa smash, gut smash, pectoralis release, and strengthening). I add in barre class once or twice per week for core. I believe most of us need two to three hours of exercise per day for robust health and to trick the brain into thinking we're growing younger!
Power yoga, running, and a whole lot of nature.
I exercise every single day! Usually a type of power yoga at least five to six days per week, then usually one weight session and one cardio (running) session. I also love nature, so I usually throw in a hike, bike rides with the kids, or an outdoor swim somewhere in the mix. Moving every single day keeps me both energized and calm, so I need it!
—Dr. Amy Shah, board-certified M.D. and mbg class instructor
10-minute power walks and kettlebells.
Exercise is built into my day, and I use a standing desk and 10-minute power walks whenever I need a break. For over 20 years, I used to wake up at 4 a.m. to work out, but now I treasure sleep. So at 6 a.m. I am typically in my basement doing a short yoga flow centered on spinal flexibility (the five Tibetans), a HIIT workout for 10 to 15 minutes on the treadmill or rower, and then I swing some kettlebells. I am done in under 30 minutes total.
Want more exercise tips? Here's the unexpected exercise benefit we all need right now, plus workouts that will help you beat bloat.