Canadian physical activity guidelines say that you need at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week to achieve health benefits. However, a small change in physical fitness can lead to marked health benefits. In fact, the greatest change in health status is seen with a small change in physical activity. As little as 15 min per day or 90 min per week of moderate intensity physical activity has been shown to significantly reduce risk of deaths related to all cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and all causes.
What are the benefits of a physically-active lifestyle?
As we age we naturally lose our muscular endurance. This can be counter-acted with strength training in any form of physical activity. Strength training makes daily movement easier, more efficient and can reduce injuries. Strength training improves walking speed, mobility, ability to perform activities of daily living, balance, endurance, performance and reduces self-reported pain. Short term exercise like lifting laundry or going up a flight of stairs are improved. Engaging lower body strength and mobility reduces risk of falling, developing fractures as well as subsequent chronic conditions and dependence.
In addition to reducing risk of falls, weight-bearing exercise improves balance and bone mineral density. Increased muscular strength can reduce perceived anger, tension, anxiety, perceived stress, and depression. Strength training can increase quality of sleep, social functioning and quality of life.
How much to start?
Low intensity (light effort) aerobic exercise (light gardening, light walking) most days of the week, up to 60 min per day is ideal. Activity can be accumulated in 10 min bouts throughout the day, but the higher the intensity the lower the time required. Sneak in some exercise by running errands on foot, taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, or getting off the bus a stop before you actually need to. If watching TV from home, stretch and do bodyweight exercises while enjoying the show!
Every little bit counts.
Need some ideas at home? Gardening, vacuuming, weeding, pruning, sweeping, dusting, dishes, or folding laundry are all great ways of moving your body.
If you don’t mind getting outside, light walking, bicycling, swimming, dancing, yoga, and Tai-chi are excellent ways to improve strength and endurance.
How we can help.
Book in a complimentary one-on-one session with our Kinesiology / Active Rehabilitation team today and get a head start on your personalized lifestyle physical activity plan. Move more, and worry less with Hartwell Therapy and Wellness.