During first appointments, it’s common for me to ask “Do you do any regular exercise?” The answers can vary greatly, but there’s rarely ever enough exercise on the schedule. One of the primary issues I have come across is that people are considering themselves “active” because they walk often. Don’t get me wrong…walking is fantastic. I’ll take walking instead of sitting 100% of the time. But unfortunately, if walking is the most intense form of exercise you are doing, it’s not enough. Actually, you might have to re-classify yourself in the “inactive” group.
Unfortunately, if walking is the most intense form of
exercise you are doing it’s not enough
Walking does have many benefits and should definitely be part of normal daily life. Walking is good for the heart, balance and mobility. It also helps us maintain our independence as we age. People with jobs that require a lot of walking tend to be healthier than people who sit all day. These benefits of regular walking are emphasised in global health promotion.
However, walking does neglect a vital part of good health:
Strength is crucial for many reasons:
In order to improve strength and encourage the body to increase muscle, we need to ensure the muscles are pushed to their limits (or close to their limits). A higher intensity causes the muscles distress in the short term and the body responds by expending energy to strengthen the muscle so it can complete the activity with a greater level of ease the next time around.
What Exercise Should I Do?
Resistance training is crucial to promote muscle strengthening and good overall health. Resistance training involves targeting key muscles in safe movements with weights adding resistance. Resistance training is a safe, quick and efficient way to stress the muscle and prompt positive health outcomes.
Our supervised gym is designed to help introduce effective resistance training.
High Intensity Aerobic Exercise
If you aren’t able to fit resistance training in, you can still effectively use aerobic exercise – walking, running, cycling, hiking etc. – to promote good health and the desired muscular response. In order to ensure that aerobic exercise is effective, we’ll need to ensure that a good portion of the exercise is at a high intensity.
The intensity can be increased by:
By adjusting your definition of “active” to include near-maximal muscular contractions through resistance training or high intensity aerobic training you can expect to see:
The result might not be directly observable, but we’ve seen people that are stronger are less likely to experience injuries and pain. Especially to smaller muscle groups like the shoulders & neck.
Improved Blood Markers
Strength is vital for our biology. Incorporating higher exertion movements will help the muscles accept blood sugar and use more energy in general resulting in an improved metabolic rate & improvements in blood markers such as glycemic control, cholesterol, blood pressure and many others.
Increasing muscle activation helps build the neuromuscular control which assists the coordination and collaboration that is involved in good balance. By training the muscle to a higher capacity, you’ll experience improved balance and a reduced falls risk which is crucial as we age.
One of the primary causes of pain is muscular weakness. For example, if you carry heavy bags with diminished shoulder strength you can cause injuries and pain. The same applies for knee pain and reduced leg strength. Improving the strength of key muscles can lead to less pain and better calibration of pain.
Actions & Summary
Walking is not enough. We must ensure that our body is being pushed to encourage it to continue to increase strength and assist overall health.
You can improve your activity by incorporating resistance training and/or high intensity aerobic exercises.
If you’re not sure where to start get individual advice for the best results.
My name is Hany and I’m the Clinic Director here at Activate Clinic.
My wife, Stephanie, and I have been building Activate Clinic together in an attempt to help as many people as possible take control of their health. We believe that everyone is unique has the power to optimise their own health.
Let me guide you on this wonderful adventure…