You Move. We Move. Move Your Way with Physical Activity

Have you heard that most people do not get enough physical activity? That’s right! According to the newest Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the US Department of Health Services, 80% of Americans do not get enough activity.

The good news is physical activity can help improve many chronic conditions you may be experiencing such as heart disease and even depression. In our current COVID-19 pandemic (see more on Deconditioning and Post-acute COVID Recovery) it is even more important to get out and move, but how much?

We break it down by age group, as recommended by the guidelines:

  • Preschool-aged children (3-5 years old): should be active for at least 3 hours. In this age group, activity should look like active play versus sitting activities.
  • Children and adolescents (6-17 years old): need at least an hour of activity a day. This may include sports or other vigorous activity to increase bone and muscle health.
  • Adults (ages 18-64): should do at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense activity per week. This may include activities such as brisk walking, running, playing a sport such as tennis. Adults should also participate in a strengthening activity twice per week. For women this is especially important to reduce the risks of osteopenia and osteoporosis.
  • Older adults (65 and older): should also participate in 150 minutes of aerobic activity.  This may include activities such as walking, golfing, and gardening.  It is also important for older adults to add balance activities to their weekly routine.

Additionally, adults with chronic conditions should consult with a healthcare provider prior to starting an exercise program, but should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity.

Making movement a priority in your day can improve your quality of life and is one of the easiest ways to prevent or improve chronic health conditions.

Don’t know where to start? Physical therapists treat all ages and skill levels – some might even say PTs are movement experts. Your first visit will start with an evaluation. An evaluation is time for a physical therapist to test:

  • Range-of-Motion and flexibility
  • Muscle strength of your arms and legs
  • Gait and Balance
  • Endurance and Aerobic Capacity

Once a physical therapist has completed the evaluation he or she will develop an custom treatment plan to meet your specific needs and goals (based on your evaluation, of course). A quick consultation can also help you overcome some of your fears about activity.  Let’s look at a few.

  1. It’s going to hurt. Pain makes movement challenging for some. But a physical therapist can help you move in a better, more pain-free way.
  2. I don’t have the right equipment. You don’t need fancy equipment and you don’t need to go to a gym. Physical activity can be done in your home, such as climbing stairs and common household items, such as cans of soup, can be used as weights (No Gym? No Problem!).
  3. I’m too tired to exercise. Research shows that exercise improves energy levels. Exercise increases oxygen and nutrients being delivered to organs and the brain. It promotes better sleep and mental health which are all key factors to improving our energy levels.

You may have another barrier, but don’t let the little things stop you from getting the recommended level of physical activity that your body needs. Call a physical therapist today and schedule an evaluation. All it takes to discover your body’s full potential is a FREE 20-minute session with one of our experts.

You’ll leave with the knowledge and tools to overcome any barriers thrown your way!

US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2018. Accessed November 14, 2018.