We know you hear it all the time. Exercise this, exercise that it’ll help with this, that, and this. The challenge we all face is how we actually get motivated to exercise. For some, reframing the way you think about exercise might be beneficial.
The risk of not exercising
Most of us don’t want to exercise but take a moment to step back and think about the risks of not exercising. If you don’t exercise your body, you risk increased chances of cardiovascular issues, diabetes, atherosclerosis, arterial sclerosis, and more.
In 2008, a survey was taken, and 18.4% of the U.S. population achieved the current exercise recommendations. There was another study done around 53%, which is a huge variation, but on the other hand, even if it is 53%, there’s another 47% that still isn’t. So our goal is to make a change and increase the amount of exercise people get, whether it’s 18% or 50%. To achieve those goals, we want to educate our audience on the recommended amount of exercise, the benefits of exercise, and the risks of not exercising.
Did you know there’s a difference between physical activity and exercise?
There is a difference between physical activity and exercise. Exercise typically has a goal behind it, whereas physical activity is getting up and getting your body moving without any particular goal in mind. Work is brought up a lot in the topic of exercise; if you have an active job, many people wonder or equate their job to enough exercise. While this is not entirely untrue, you are getting exercise during physically active jobs, and you do achieve parts of the recommended amount of exercise. However, people don’t understand that doing the same thing every day at your job will eventually stop challenging your muscles. Your body adapts and becomes stagnant if you don’t exercise on top of doing your work.
How much should you be exercising?
In general, three to five years old, keep it active. Challenge them, make it beneficial and something that they’re interested in. Essentially let them play, grow, and develop. As they get older between the ages of six to 16 years old, most of their exercises should be at least 60 minutes per day. The routine should include cardiovascular and muscle strengthening exercises. Soon, as we grow into adults 18 and above, the minimum requirements are 150 – 300 minutes of physical activity a week or two and a half to five hours a week. Ideally, spread out. If those numbers feel overwhelming, just remember that breaks down into about a half hour a day or, even easier, 15 minutes twice a day.
We also work with individuals with chronic, multiple, or neurological conditions. The overall goal is to do the best you can to try and get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity and 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity, and if they can’t quite meet that, then it’s our job as physical therapists to provide ways to help achieve those goals.
How to implement a healthy exercise routine!
Plan on how to provide exercise in daily life or find a program to join. I know some of us aren’t the biggest fans of exercise programs, keep the goals simple and straightforward. Get 20 minutes in per day of walking, ride an elliptical bike, go to the gym and listen to a podcast to get your heart rate up within those zones to reap significant health benefits. There’s a lot of research on zone two down to mitochondrial function and training, and there’s this common misconception that we need to spend time at higher heart rates to strengthen the muscle. However, the studies and the science say hey, stay in zone two where you burn the most fat. If you want to really lose weight, spend time in zone two.
Another one of the things you can do to help you determine where you are at in your own fitness journey and help you determine the goals and starting point to help you progress in your journey to set and reach goals. Give yourself a criteria checklist. For example, if you know you have habits you need to quit to achieve your full health potential, those are good habits to include in the health criteria you’ve set. So if your goal is a healthier, stronger heart, but you smoke, and you’re trying to quit, write that in and begin reducing the amount you smoke every week, every day, whatever is most beneficial for you and for every day you smoke one less give yourself a little treat or dance break. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you’re not going to achieve your fitness goals in a day. Break it down into feasible, achievable goals and celebrate every time you meet one, and push yourself every time you do to go one step further.
How to cheat the system!
Feeling overwhelmed with the statistics? Don’t fret; you can break up your exercise and physical activity to help you meet these exercise goals. So you’re asking yourself, is there a way to cheat that system? And yes, of course. You don’t want to go to a gym; you don’t want to run on a treadmill etc.; ask yourself what do you like to do? If you’re not a person who sees yourself in that sort of setting in a dreary, repetitive place, look into nature trails or parks near your, look into indoor or outdoor rock climbing, and look into exercise that lets your body move and stretch in ways you enjoy moving and stretching. For example, buy tools or research routines that focus on those traits if you like bouncing or balancing. If you have a hard time doing the activity for a certain amount of time, set your exercise goals to be a number to reach that perhaps takes you a certain amount of time to achieve. So if you know that two sets of ten takes you ten minutes, count the two sets of ten instead of counting the minutes.