It has been said in many a university classroom, that if drug companies could bottle up the benefits of exercise it would be the most widely prescribed drug in history.
Even in small doses, movement can extend longevity and prevent disease. Modern research has confirmed that regular movement can reduce cardiovascular-related events, and things like type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cancer and dementia.
Even for people suffering low back pain, strengthening the core and mobilizing the hips is very useful for improving the function of their back.
Having mental health challenges? Physical exercise positively affects the long-term management of psychological symptoms, including depression, anxiety and chronic stress.
When first building an exercise routine it can be stressful, so here are some easy to follow guidelines. Adhere to the FITT principle:
· Frequency: How often are you doing the activity? Two to three times per week is recommended.
· Intensity: How much effort are you putting out? For moderate intensity, you should be able to talk while exercising, but not sing.
· Time: How long are you exercising? 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise is recommended.
· Type: What activities do you enjoy that are suitable for your body at this time?
Some people have the idea that they need to set aside large blocks of time to benefit from exercise, so they don’t do it. But the truth of the matter is that exercise has a cumulative effect throughout the day.
For example, taking simple steps like parking farther away from the store, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can have a tremendous impact on your overall health. By adding these incremental steps, a person can not only add years onto their life, but more importantly, add quality years.
Now, if you haven’t exercised in a while there are some things to consider.
Talking to your local chiropractor or medical doctor can be a good place to start if you are dealing with a chronic condition such as arthritis. These specialists will be able to tell you about what your strengths and weaknesses are, and assess things such as range of motion.
Generally speaking, there are two camps of people I see in clinical practice. One group says getting old sucks, and the other says they love it. What is the difference?
The happy group never stopped moving, and their bodies have continued to serve them well as the years passed on. It’s something of a give and take relationship.
If we neglect to care properly for the body, it develops symptoms. And conversely, if we give the body what it needs to function well, then it is less likely to develop symptoms as a means to tell us that lifestyle changes are needed.
For now, stay fit and have fun!
Dr. Jeremy Buhay is the owner of Marine Chiropractic and Wellness in Powell River.