Get Up And Move

Movement comes in many forms: running, cycling, yoga, CrossFit, weightlifting, gymnastics, swimming, etc. The form of movement you choose is not so important as the frequency at which you practice it. The vast majority of people now die younger than they should from preventable disease, and a sedentary lifestyle is at the heart of the problem. As healthcare providers, we are often asked, “What is the best exercise to do?” and our answer is always the same: “Whatever exercise you enjoy so much that you will do it on an almost daily basis.” Daily exercise strengthens our bodies against injury, circulates our blood to protect against disease, releases hormones that makes us feel less stressed, and helps us sleep better. For this reason, we believe that movement is one of the fundamentals of health.

Diversify Your Movements

Aside from finding a primary movement practice to pursue, we believe it is very important to cross-train. This idea is often complicated in the media, but does not need to be. Simply put, you should supplement you primary exercise regimen with other movements in order to keep your musculoskeletal system healthy. Endurance athletes (runners, cyclists, swimmers, etc.) should look to strength train 1-2 days per week in order to keep the capacity of their joints, tendons, ligaments, and bones higher than what they encounter during the repetitive motions of running. Likewise, strength athletes (weightlifters, body builders, powerlifters, etc.) should incorporate aerobic capacity work 1-2 days per week to improve the efficiency of their muscles during exercise as well as keep their heart healthy.

After finding a form of exercise you enjoy, the next question is usually “How often?” Initially, being able to move every other day is a great goal. If you have been inactive for some time, soreness is to be expected and taking every other day off will let your body manage the soreness as it acclimates to the increased work volume. The goal is to eventually work your way up to a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-to-high intensity exercise per week. At 30-45 minutes per day, 4-5 days per week, you will reach this goal. The more active you become, the more your body will adjust to the volume and you will find that you do not feel as sore despite exercising more. A common schedule to adopt is to aim to exercise Monday through Wednesday, take Thursday off, exercise Friday and Saturday with Sundays off (3 on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off). At 45 minutes per day, this will allow you to easily meet and exceed 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week while still having two days off.

Find A Way

Fine tuning an exercise program can become complicated quickly. It’s important to remember that if you’re not exercising daily, just beginning to do so in any way possible is a great start. Future articles will break down different types and styles of exercise programs in greater detail (CrossFit, high-intensity interval training, strength training, endurance training, etc.) to give you a better idea of the almost endless variety of movement that is available to you. For now, aim to move at least 150 minutes per week at moderate-to-high intensity in whatever way you can to start reaping the health benefits of exercise.

  • Dr. Mitch Babcock, PT, DPT, CF-L2
  • Dr. Alan Fredendall, PT, DPT, CF-L2
  • Billy Glowacki, B.S., Pn1, CF-L1