Sunday, February 02, 2014

Much ado about exercise

We know that forming a healthy lifestyle is about forming new habits. To form new habits you have to repeatedly do something. To repeatedly do something you have to actually do it. And to do it you have to get your mind right. Over and over and over again. It can be tough but it can also be a wonderful experience of a new life and creativity.

My mind was challenged this past week about how much the general public exercise. If its enough, if it is not enough. 
As a (ALMOST AAAALMOST, so close) Physiotherapist we see people that don't exercise enough on a daily basis. Of course there are exceptions (especially if you work as a sports-physiotherapist) but on a daily basis, on a normal day, I saw patients who did not exercise. 
In my first encounter with a patient one of my top questions is 'do you exercise?'. People have answered that question in a variety of ways, most elderly humans always commented on their school days (which at this point is a good 40-60 years ago! lol). But on a daily basis they didn't do anything. Again, there were exceptions that went to their gymnastic classes once/twice a week for the past 40 years but I remember these stories SO well, that they unfortunately were only about a dozen. 
Now, what happened and what is normal? I had a great conversation with my friend the other day about different views on what is a normal exercise 'routine' and what is too much or too little and I really thought about it for a while... 

Let's take a desk job for instance, its a common thing to work in an office for 8-9 hours a day, mainly sitting on a chair.
We are animals, which animal sits 8 hours a day? Jaaaa, okay, a sloth is also an animal and it sleeps all day, I get it. BUT, my point being, I don't believe we are meant to live sitting on a chair all day. 
If you look back 150 years ago, people didn't have the privilege of getting their food as easily and readily as we do here in Germany in 2014. If I am hungry, I just walk 400 meters and buy some groceries, go home and eat. Back in the day, we had to use our bodies a lot more to gather our groceries. Regardless if its better this way or the old way, it is how it is. If you sit most of the day, then thats how it is but your body is in a similar position for 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week- is 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise a lot for someone who sits 8 hours a day? In my (aaalmost!!!) professional opinion I think 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise a day is an absolute must

A lot of the time it's also about who you surround yourself with. If you hang out with people who don't exercise then you think that is normal. If you surround yourself with people who exercise on a daily basis and don't think of it as being something out of the ordinary then you soon realise that that is your reality.

Professional athletes work out about 8 hrs on a daily basis and they seem to be doing just fine! Why can't we 'normal' people do 30 minutes of brisk walking in a day of 13 hours of being awake? 

I know, I seem to repeat myself a lot on this topic but I will keep repeating myself as long as there are people who need to hear it. As an (almost!) physiotherapist I do think it is my duty to remind you how important it is to move. MOVE! MOOOOOOVE! 
An exercise a day keeps insanity away :D

BTW, when I speak of moderate exercise I mean working up a sweat once a day. Let it be a fast paced walk, a light jog, a bike ride, a dance party in your bedroom, anything that gets your heart rate out of its comfort zone. It gets your blood pumping more oxygen through your body, gets your mind right and most importantly your body gets to experience a different position than sitting on a chair. Remember, your bones and your joints live off your muscles being moved! 

Turn that lazy sunday into a healthy sunday!
Sincerely, your sweaty friend Nada

1 comment:

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