By Dr. Jessica Warnecke, PT, DPT, OCS
New guidelines were recently released by our federal government regarding physical activity requirements to sustain health and prevent disease. It is estimated that 80% of U.S. adults and children today DO NOT meet the minimum requirements and are at an increasingly higher risk of growth delays, impaired cognition and sleep, and developing chronic diseases.
New recommendations include:
So, what does this all mean? It means we need to start taking our physical health seriously. Our lifestyles are leading to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, depression, anxiety, dementia, and more… An estimated 10% of premature mortality rates are due to inadequate physical activity! Research shows over and over again that regular physical activity helps reduce over 8 types of cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairments, anxiety and depression, memory loss, weight gain, and overall mortality.
Every new year there’s a wave of heightened enthusiasm with motivation for setting health goals and working towards them. Then, two weeks in, we get busy or bored and lose inspiration. Don’t let that be this year. There is no better time than the present to make movement a priority!
22 minutes of movement a day can be so simple to fit into your life. You don’t have to do anything too extreme to get your heart rate working in the “moderate intensity” range. Parking at the far end of the lot at work and walking to the office counts. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator counts. Going for a short walk on your lunch break counts. Spending time cleaning the house or doing yard work counts.
It’s also more important than ever to include strength training and balance. These components become crucial as we age. Muscle strengthening improves bone health to reduce the onset of osteoporosis and prevent fractures. It also aids in maintaining functional strength so that there’s no difficulty squatting to the ground with the kids, going up/down stairs, getting out of the car, walking, or standing up from sitting. Balance helps with coordination, reaction time, core strength, reducing back pain, and preventing falls. Just two sessions a week is all you need! And this doesn’t even have to be in the gym. Finding some form of “exercise” you enjoy can make all the difference in the world for staying determined and sticking to your plan. You’d be surprised how creative we can get at making something work for YOU!
Ultimately, the best investment you can make is in your health. When you are healthy, you stay happy. You are energized to be present with your family. You are motivated to stay focused at work. Your body functions properly to allow restful sleep and adequate stress management. Best of all, you are adding life to your years and years to your life! Who wouldn’t want all this?!
I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to appreciate your body, move, and be healthy!
Meet Your Therapist
Jessica has been in Austin, TX for the past four years. She grew up in Idaho and attended PT school at Idaho State University. She completed an Orthopaedic Residency and became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist in 2016.