man riding bike along roadwayWe all know that exercise is beneficial for us.  The issue for most of us is making time for exercise.  We are so busy all the time that it is way too easy to make excuses and skip going to the gym.  The best way to start incorporating exercise back into your life is to integrate it into your daily activities.  Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk to your destination, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk around your office during your lunch break.  Even simple things like housework can provide an exercise keep you healthy:

Vacuuming and scrubbing the floor are enough exercise to protect heart and extend life, study finds. The Daily Telegraph, September 21 2017

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death, globally.  Studies have shown that approximately 8% of mortalities and 4.6% of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) could be prevented if everyone would adhere to physical activity standards and/or recommendations (minimum of 150 minutes per week).

In 1995, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) published a preventive recommendation that “Every US adult should accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week”.  Then in 2007, the ACSM and the AHA (American Heart Association) published detailed recommendations for different levels of activity, pertaining to various age groups.

The categories are broken down into the following, and keep in mind that combinations of these types can be performed to meet the requirements:
-Moderate intensity aerobic activity
-Vigorous intensity aerobic activity
-Muscle strengthening activity

Moderate intensity
It is recommended that adults need moderate intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week, for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. This type of exercise results in a noticeable increase in heart rate and breathing (i.e. a brisk walk). Pilates Instructor Training is one of the most efficient ways to get the heart pumping and keeping co-morbidities at bay.
 Vigorous intensity
It is recommended that adults need vigorous intensity aerobic activity 3 days per week, for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. This type of exercise results in a large increase in heart rate and breathing (i.e. kickboxing class).

Muscle strengthening
It is recommended that 8-10 different exercises be performed 2 or more days per week – preferably nonconsecutive days – using major muscle groups.  Adding resistance (weights) to your regimen will maximize strength development, and also increase balance and gait.

The above activities are recommended in addition to routine activities of daily living, like cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry.  Obviously, the more physical activity you get, the greater overall benefit you will experience.  Older adults especially should aim to exceed the minimum requirements.
Muscles will be stronger, coordination and balance improve, existing diseases/conditions will be more easily managed, future risk for additional chronic disease is reduced, chances of depression associated with the aging process are lessened and mortality rate decreases.

ACSM issued a separate recommendation for older adults (men and women age 65 and above).  Balance exercises are recommended for older adults (10 minutes, 2 days per week) to prevent falls, and injuries associated with chronic falls.  Especially for older adults with mobility issues, balance exercises can only improve their balance and coordination. Flexibility exercises are also recommended (10 minutes, 2 days per week) to maintain the flexibility necessary for necessary activities of daily life.

To avoid a sedentary lifestyle, it is also recommended that an activity plan is put into place.  We all know that cognitive function and brain function declines with age.  Malfunctions of this type are associated with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, so the goal is to slow the progress of cognitive decline and improve the quality of life.

As you can see from this physiotherapy service in Ontario, participation in an exercise program can effectively improve cognitive function among aging patients.  Staying motivated and providing encouragement is the most important part.  This allows older adults to maintain their independence and avoid slipping into a depression. Continuity in a routine will only improve the physical health and sense of wellbeing.

At Michigan Head & Neck Institute, our focus is on restoring our patients’ quality of life. For more information on this topic or to find out more ways to incorporate exercise into your daily life, please contact our office at (586) 573-0438.

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Household chores could save your life: The tiny amounts of physical activity from cleaning the floor and tidying up cut your risk of death by 28%, study finds. Mail Online, September 22 2017, accessed Feb 16 2018.