The list is long and you just need to pick it up. It’s written, signed and already filled and ready for you to stop and get on your way home. When you pick it up it reads: Exercise daily. 30 minutes of cardio and 3 to 4 days of week of lifting weights. What? I don’t get to just take a pill and that will take care of all of this. What if you got a prescription like this and it was the only medicine you ever needed?
According to Exercise is Medicine.org, the majority of our country spends 8 hours a day in sedentary activities and over 70 percent of Americans don’t get enough exercise on a daily basis. In a 2009 study, utilizing direct evidence, the World Health Organization stated that physical inactivity is the number one leading cause of death in the United States. That is quite a statement isn’t it. All of our inactivity is causing a lot of health issues ranging from diabetes, to hypertension, to decreased immunity, which then often leads to a greater incidence of autoimmune diseases and related cancers.
So exercise is all we need, instead of all these different medications? Well, exercise is on the prescription, and the amazing thing is that the need for medications decreases as our exercise increases. We see the need for cholesterol medications decreasing. We see the need for high blood pressure medication decrease also. Even people with diabetes have a decrease in the need for their medications with a consistent exercise regime. Other studies indicate that the risk of strokes decreased by 26 percent with exercise and there was a 16 percent reduction in breast cancer with those who exercised. There is also an increase in white blood cell longevity, which then kills viruses, bacteria and reduces the risk of illness and colds. So people who exercised had less chance of getting any type of chronic illness.
So please let’s get started with your exercise prescription. First start with your cardio exercise. If you are not sure how hard you should be pushing yourself then you should follow the sing talk guidelines. If you can sing while on the treadmill, then you are not working hard enough, if you can’t talk, then you are probably working too hard. These are good ways to grade whether you are working at the level you should be for 30 minutes a day. Now consider what can you do for your muscles 3 to 4 days a week. This is a little bit trickier for some of us, so you may want some help from your physical therapist. But you can start with basic things like biceps curls, pec presses, tricep dips and lat pulls. Partial sit-ups, back extensions, push-ups, squats, lunges, and heel raises. If you happen to have health issues, like back pain or a tendonitis it doesn’t mean you can’t exercise, you might just need a physical therapist help you navigate your program. In fact, people in our country need to exercise daily regardless of their health status. There is something you can do, just come in and we can help you figure it out. So pick-up your prescription because exercise is medicine and the only one who can make you well is you.
Sheree DiBiase, PT is the owner of Lake City Physical Therapy and she and her staff understand the need for daily exercise. Please call us at (208) 667-1988 and they will be happy to help you establish a good exercise routine.