Are you getting enough exercise?
We are constantly being bombarded with instructions to ‘move more’ and ‘be more active’… What does that mean though? Is it actually enough to just be active in our daily lives? Or do we need to exercise? What is the difference anyway?
Questions, questions…so many questions!
If you get up in the morning, sit and have breakfast, walk the dog, clean the house, drive to collect the kids and kick a ball about with them in the park, shop for groceries and do the laundry… that’s a pretty ‘active’ day, right?
What if you get up in the morning, sit and have breakfast, drive to work, sit at your desk, go for a walk at lunchtime, drive to the gym for an hour’s exercise session, drive home, sit down and eat dinner… not very active BUT you intentionally and specifically exercised for one whole hour.
Who’s better off?
This blog was prompted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’s (CSP) latest campaign “Love activity/Hate exercise”. It was developed to help Physiotherapists encourage their patients who are less motivated to exercise to become more ‘active’.
It states gardening and housework as good ways to increase your daily physical activity level. I don’t disagree, yes it is one way to get the most inactive people moving more. However, without meaning to sound harsh, that’s just not enough!
The NHS recommend that in order to stay healthy, people aged 19 – 64 should be doing 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week and two strength exercise sessions each week to focus on all the major muscle groups of the body.
Vigorous exercise can be defined as one of the following:
- Jogging or running
- Swimming fast
- Riding a bike fast or on hills
- Singles tennis
- Skipping with a rope
- Gymnastics/martial arts
I’m not expecting people who have not exercised in years, if at all, to go out and try to run a mile, but I think giving out a message saying that mowing the lawn is sufficient exercise is wrong. Goals need to be set out at the very beginning and people should be working towards the recommended amount of weekly exercise right from the get-go.
We could all do more exercise and however daunting it is at first, the proven benefits are huge, both physically and mentally. As Physiotherapists, we are here to help you feel better and part of our job is ensuring that you stay better too!
So, when I give you an exercise regime specific to your condition, it really is aimed at mobilising, strengthening and stabilising you for now and for the future. Use that as a basis for your weekly exercise and build on it, adding in the vigorous activity where you can, be it a jog in the morning, cycling to work or just skipping with a rope indoors!
Just because you haven’t sat down all day doesn’t mean you are doing enough actual exercise. Try it, you’ll feel the difference!
I’m off to get my sweatbands on…
Until next time!