Movement is Medicine

It doesn't matter how old you are because every year that you are less active, the more muscle we will loose each year. Connective tissues become weaker and more prone to strain and injury. Circulation also decreases making it more difficult to recover. The good news is there are natural ways to maintain muscle and avoid these health issues.

Simple everyday things can be done to help improve your health, if you are wondering "what wonder drug can help with this?" You will be surprised that movement and exercise is the answer, not a drug. It's becoming more and more common these days for doctors to understand that exercise is in fact, medicine. 

Step 1: Sitting Is The New Smoking

Our clients begin to complain about aches and pains, normally it is also associated with a lack of movement. What ever your excuse is for not exercising  you need to understand that only you have the ability to make a positive change.  A lack of movement can lead to imbalance or pressure in the wrong muscles or joints, that later create pain or inflamation. If you are able to stand, sit, walk or climb ... the key is keeping that movement free and unrestricted. 

The first step in moving toward being more active is quite simple. The first goal is to avoid sitting or resting for long periods of time. People who sit for most of the day are more prone to having both acute aches and pains, but also to develop chronic health problems like heart disease, obesity or diabetes. Believe it or not sitting is still a large factor independant of whether smoke or exercise. Sitting for long periods still increases the risk. Make sure to get up every hour, even if it is to stand or walk around the office.

 

Step 2: Start a Walking Program

Start with small steps. Most smart phones will have a step counter. If you haven't been active dont aim for 10,000 steps per day, just stick to your regular routine for the first week and record how many steps you walk every day. This will be your baseline. The following week, increase this number by 10 percent. It's about aiming for smaller goals first and then reaching them.

Find creative ways to walk, rather than making it a chore. Most people are shocked to find that small breaks of walking throughout the day are sometimes more beneficial than blocking off a set period of time. If you drive to the store, park farther away than you usually do. In fact, try parking on the other side of the mall and walking to the store you need to get to. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. You can come up with many creative ways to change up your routine.

 

Step 3: Stretch Your Muscles

It is important to allow the body to warm up by moving body parts slowly and through a full range of motion until your muscles get warmed up. This is the best thing to do before you start any exercise program. Research has shown that static stretching can sometimes be responsible for increasing the risk of injury, not decreasing the risk.

Instead, perform a movement that will focus on a muscle group. Moving in a slow controlled manner, allowing the joint to open and close is called dynamic stretching, and for some people, it's easier to do. It also keeps your muscles moving, and warmed up.


Step 4: Do Some Strength Training

Starting with your own body weight is key. Weight training doesn't mean joining a gym. There are many movements that you can use during the day that will help build muscle strength. We want to mimic movements that can stimulate weak or imbalance muscles. We can guide you with exercises that can be done safely without fear of falling. 

Later on we can move onto resistance elastic bands. This will challenge your strength and stability, however you will want to get advise on how to be aware of injuries or strains. Proper technique is important to make sure you progress safely. Consult with us prior to incorporating other forms of exercise, such as classes or weight to make sure you are clear to begin these programs.

 

Putting It All Together

Exercise doesn't have to be complicated to be effective. Walking can be done at any time. Strengthening can be done using your own body weight.

If you are unsure about starting a program, we can test your muscles before increasing your fitness program is also recommended. Our team can assess which muscles are tight and which are weak. They can then prescribe the right type of exercise program to address these muscles.

Make sure you address any aches and pains before starting on a program. Most of our patients start off great. After a few weeks, they come back and begin complaining about aches and pains, which often forces them to quit. More often than not, seeing us while you adopt your new activities will make sure you continue optimally.