Developing a habit takes 21 days, or so they say. Let’s make that habit adjustable.
We all know that exercise is an important part of health and wellness. How many people make their New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get in shape? With the Holidays approaching and the New Year coming, I want to open your minds to the world of exercise and activity.
Did you know that for individuals ages 18-64 the guidelines set by the World Health Organization recommend: (1)150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise per week and (2) two days of full body strength training?
What constitutes moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise? Depending on your level of fitness, this can vary from person to person. What seems light for some, may be moderate or vigorous for others. Here are some guidelines to help determine your level of aerobic activity.
Moderate-intensity exercise is an activity that increases your heart rate to 50-70% of your maximum heart rate (Maximum HR= 220-your age). This can include tasks such as: brisk walking, bicycling at 10-12 mph, dancing, outdoor work, carrying objects < 45lbs and sometimes even housework (washing windows, vacuuming). During moderate intensity exercise, you should feel as if you are working, but you should be able to talk to the person next to you without gasping for air. On a scale from 0-10, you should always feel as if you’re working at an average of 4- .
Vigorous-intensity exercise requires activity that increases your heart rate to 71-85% of your maximum heart rate. This can include tasks such as: jogging, bicycling at higher paces (> 14 mph), basketball, soccer, hiking up steep inclines, and carrying objects (>45 lbs). During vigorous exercise, you will feel like talking to the person next to you is not all that easy. On a scale from 0-10, you should feel as if you are always working above a 6.
Onto strength training. Strength training is physical activity in which a specific muscle or muscle group exert force to move against external resistance. The number of people who come into our clinic who only participate in one form of exercise is astounding. Most of the time it is something that is extremely repetitive in nature (brisk walking, running, cycling, rowing, swimming, etc) or something of a lower intensity such as Pilates or yoga.
Most people despise strength training or anything that has to do with weights or resistance. Unfortunately, a lack of strength training in your regiment often leads to an increased possibility of repetitive stress injury, chronic pain, and even increases your risk of bone disease such as osteoporosis as you age. Strength training alone, unless your heart rate is significantly elevated, also isn’t recommended.
So, what does this mean? Are you a regular at a yoga class, or Pilates? Is running your only method of exercise? Do you hop on your Peloton several days a week? Well, if we look to these guidelines and one of these things is all you do, you may need to adjust your daily routine.
Why does it need to change? Unfortunately, yoga and Pilates do not typically fall into the moderate or vigorous intensity category. They are both great practices for health and overall wellness; however, they’re lacking the intensity needed to maintain a truly healthy lifestyle. Regarding running or cycling, overtraining can often become a problem as well as a wide array of injuries.
Expanding our exercise horizon not only helps improve our overall health and wellness. I know most people who love cardiovascular exercise typically hate strength training. I also know that most individuals who love Pilates or yoga truly dislike aerobic exercise. Unless an individual is trained or has someone to work with, most people don’t like strength training mainly because they don’t know how.
I want people who have developed an exercise niche to think outside of the box. I want people to understand that a brisk walk, bike ride, yoga class, or run several times a week may not be enough to really keep you healthy. I also want individuals who are new to fitness to seek assistance when learning! Remember, your moderate intensity may be a slow walk down the road, meanwhile your neighbor’s moderate intensity is a three-mile jog!
As a physical therapist, one of my main goals is to help individuals with their overall health and wellness. Physical Therapy is not only for those who are injured! We try to help people successfully break limits that were once thought to be unachievable. If you need some guidance or assistance in what you should do next, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Feldman Physical Therapy and Performance.