Be Prepared to Groan
Language alert: Bad word coming up. In fact the whole subject is a little off-putting for most of us. Do you groan at the mention of the E-word, let alone doing it? As part of my job as a physio at HealthMoves Physiotherapy in Edwardstown and Mawson Lakes I regularly discuss exercise with my patients. Not just the stuff to help you recover from back pain or knee pain, but the stuff to help you live longer, reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. It’s also good for the body’s muscles and joints. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
What the Studies Say
The American Surgeon General makes recommendations about how much exercise we should do based on studies. This was taken from Physical Activity and Health, A Report of the Surgeon General Executive Summary, 2010.
A regular, preferably daily regimen of at least 30–45 minutes of brisk walking, bicycling, or even working around the house or yard will reduce your risks of developing coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes. And if you’re already doing that, you should consider picking up the pace.
Sign on the pavement at Glenelg
Weave Exercise Into Your Day
Pick up the pace. I understand. But first we have to have something to pick up. Being too busy, simply not liking it, or waiting for the right weather means we’re usually not pacing anywhere. Children seem different . Give them some space, and take away the iPad of course, and they’re off. They’ll jump about, kick a ball at break time, or simply run-a-muck chasing each other around. They make exercise just a part of their day. Well those pesky kids may be on to something. By weaving exercise into the regular fabric that makes up our days and lives, perhaps we can just do it, and not know it. The way kids do.
The Surgeon General’s report gives us options. It says that for cardio-respiratory fitness, several short 10 minute bursts of exercise, when the intensity and duration add up to the same as the one longer session, seem to offer the same benefits. So you could try parking the car away from your work place, or get off the bus early. Walk 15 minutes to work, and at the end of the day, walk the 15 minutes back to the car or bus stop. It’s the same cardio-respiratory benefit as walking 30 minutes in one go. And you may hardly notice you’re doing it.
Walking the last part of your journey could keep you on track.
No, You’re Not Done Yet
The Surgeon General says there’s another thing. You need to be lifting and moving something heavy, twice-a-week. That’s the recommendation. That means the house and garden are going to get a serious make over, or I suggest getting yourself a set of dumb-bells 2.5kgs to 4kgs each. That’s enough for most people. You can start with bicep curls, shoulder press, bent over rows and flys. Do press-ups on the floor or, if that’s too hard, push-up from the end of the couch or off a table. Throw in some lunges and you’re done. Fifteen reps, two sets, non-stop. That’s about 10 minutes out of your day.
Here’s the Surgeon General again to remind us of the pay-off.
Physical activity reduces the risk of premature
mortality in general, and of coronary heart disease,
hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes
mellitus in particular. Physical activity also improves
mental health and is important for the
health of muscles, bones, and joints.
So there you have it. Live longer. Live healthier. Just by getting your heart rate up for about 30 minutes in total for 4 to 7 days each week . And strength train twice-a-week. Of course, you could go to a great gym like Anytime Fitness at Parafield Gardens where you’ll be guided by trained staff in a safe fun environment, or get a personal trainer to come to you. Or simply go for a brisk walk around the suburbs of Parafield, Melrose Park, or Mawson Lakes, and smash out a few sets in the comfort of your lounge. However, if you are over 40 and haven’t exercised in a while, you should consult with your GP first.
Ready to get moving? As the Surgeon General says, “The time for action—and activity—is now.” Just mind your language.