“I have no time to exercise.”

“I can’t afford a gym membership and personal trainer.”

“The gym is too crowded.”

I have heard all the excuses why a patient can’t exercise. I want to break down the barriers so you can get the job done. Your life and health depends on it.

I hear patients tell me they do not have an hour and half to spend at the gym three to five days per week. I respond: If you are spending that much time at the gym, you are doing something wrong.

Exercise does not have to be complicated. If we make it complicated we all can make a lot of money from it.

The only equipment you need is a pair of sneakers, T-shirt and a pair of shorts. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on equipment to get the job done.

Your body weight is your equipment. They do not have dumbbells and treadmills in the military.

Our lives can be hectic. Let’s get the job done in the least amount of time.

I recommend to my patients that they exercise in the morning. People that exercise in the morning are the most consistent with their program.

Another benefit to exercising in the morning is you jump start your metabolism for the day burning calories for eight hours.

I recommend three basic exercises; push-ups, sit-ups and lunges.

Lunges work every muscle in the lower body. This is where you take a long step forward. Now try and bring your knee close to the floor while keeping your forward knee at a 90-degree angle.

This works the bottom of your feet, calves, thighs, hamstrings and buttocks. Hold onto a chair if necessary. You can do one lunge at a time or walk across the room.

Next is sit-ups. Bend your knees again at a 90-degree angle cross your arms over your chest and try and touch your forehead to the ceiling. This will engage all the muscles of the abdomen without compromising your lower back and neck. The last exercise is push-ups. These can be done off your toes or your knees. What is important is you keep your body straight.

This exercise involves the muscles of chest, back, abdomen or core, and your legs.

These three exercises hit the majority of your muscles, except your biceps. Unless you’re parading down the beach you do not need big guns.

One of my favorite patients owns a fabulous local restaurant with her partner. Whenever I go in for dinner, she always shares with me how her home exercise program is doing.

One time she was concerned that the back of the arms were not toned and she did not like the look. She asked if there was a way to work the triceps.

I told her to do her push-ups with her thumbs and index fingers touching each other. The next time I was in the restaurant she was showing off the muscle definition in her triceps. She was so excited that such a simple exercise yielded such big results. It only takes six weeks to see changes in your muscle tone.

The last key is cardio. Athletes with the best bodies are sprinters. High intensity, short-duration cardio creates muscle better than running or walking slowly.

“How many should I do”?

Patients always ask this question. I respond, “Who cares?” Some days you will feel strong and can do eight push-ups; other times not so many. Do the exercises until you are tired.

Start these exercises now and you will see changes in your body by Memorial Day weekend.

Dr. Robert Lynch is a former president of the Maine Chiropractic Association and head of the Lynch Chiropractic Center in South Portland. “Staying in the Game” appears every other Thursday in the Press Herald. Contact him at:

[email protected]