As a Doctor of Physical Therapy I hear two common excuses to not exericise:
- Lack of time
- Injury related to exercise
The federal guidelines on aerobic exercise suggests at least seventy-five minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. Aerobic exercise, also called cardovascular exercise, does the following things:
- Raises the heart rate to a target range (THR)
- Makes you breathe harder and difficult to carry on a conversation
- Will make you sweat
- Will make you thirsty
Aerobic exercise, is like discovering the fountain of youth. These same federal guidelines recommend at least three session sof aerobic exercise per week for at least 20 continuous minutes. Ladies this does not include cardio shopping or trying on that fabulous dress. Men, this does not include taking your pup for a leisurely walk that involves multiple rest breaks.
Aerobic exercise includes things like continuous walking, jogging, climbing stairs, using an elliptical machine and high intensity interval training (HIIT). New research suggests people may be able to get life-lengthening benefits by performing aerobic exercise for less time. In fact, an analysis of fourteen different countries with over 200,000 participants spanning five years; found that people who performed any type of aerobic exercise were 27% less likely to succumb to life threatening illnesses than non-exerisers.
These same participants compared with non-exercisers, were 30% less likely to die from cardovascular disease and 23% less likely to die of cancer. This was true for exercisers who only logged 50 minutes or less of aerobic exercise per week. Seriously, anyone can exercise for ten minutes per day! Ten minutes per day to prevent heart disease, prevent cancer. Ten minutes oer day to prevent osteoporosis or prevent Alzheimers.
The good news for all of us is that performing more than fifty minutes of aerobic exercise per week was not linked to living longer. A small does of aerobic exercise can help you live longer.
What about the injury part? I believe exercise should be fun and it should make you feel better and stronger. I also believe that a musculoskeletal injury sustained while trying to better our fitness level can be emotionally discouraging. I personally have recovered from multiple injuries including, but not limited to fractures, muscle tears, ligament sprains, herniated discs, etc. Here is the thing, I never give up! I have realized that with every decade of life, my body needs to exercise differently. I know anyone at my age and any fitness level can benefit from aerobic exercise.
I would love to speak to anyone who has tried to start an exercise program only to become injured. This is my job, as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, to prevent injury while promoting movement and strength. I want my patients to embrace exercise, take that vacation, get on the floor to play with grandchildren and never regret a lost moment ot engage life to the fullest. I believe the best way to avoid surgery is to stay physically active. If you are having difficulty beginning an exercise program because of pain, please give me a call, I would love to be your Physical Therapist.