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Transcript: "Exercise: Enjoyment is Key"

Dr. Varmus:

Hi, I'm Harold Varmus. I'm the director of the National Cancer Institute. I've been riding a bike for roughly sixty-some years. I was a late starter, but it's become part of my life. Well, I'm not sure everyone should bike. I think you ought to choose your own exercise. Biking could be dangerous. You've got to feel you've got balance and command of the wheels. But I can tell you I've had plenty of accidents and spills.

People are not going to exercise just because they're told there are health benefits. You've got to enjoy it. You've got to find a sport you like and engage in it in a way that involves meeting with friends. I used to run more than I do now, and I did that mainly because I had friends who liked to run with me. And if you make sports into fun and get pleasure from it, it's going to become part of your life.

There is a lot to say for exercise in older people, maintaining muscle tone, trying to maintain normal weight and keeping up cardiovascular performance. That's all important, but what's needed is to understand that you do get those benefits, but if the exercise is not fun, people aren't going to enjoy it. I'm trying to encourage people to find something, whether it's swimming or running or playing tennis or rowing, that provides both some muscular contractions and some cardiovascular exercise. That's fine. I happen to like biking, and I encourage people to try it if they're cautious.

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