Bodies in Motion Stay in Motion!

Do you exercise? Do you think you are doing the amount of exercise you are supposed to be doing? Many of us think that we are keeping up with our recommended exercise. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity). That 2.5 hours a week would calculate to thirty minutes five days a week. It is also recommended that adults perform strength training twice a week and those greater than 65 years old add flexibility training.

Only one in five American adults and teens meet these recommendations! There are many benefits to regular exercise. The American Heart Association reports that people with active lifestyles have improved health with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and several types of cancer. Other benefits include improved sleep, improvements in obstructive sleep apnea, improved cognition and memory, improved attention, and processing speed. They have less weight gain and less obesity. Better bone health and balance, with less risk of injury from falls. They report fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, a better quality of life, and a sense of overall well-being.

So what kind of activities can you do to gain all of these benefits? You can do well-known exercise activities like walking, bike riding or water aerobics. As well social types of activities like playing doubles tennis or dancing. Even planting a garden counts as physical activity! The important thing is planning a physical activity that you enjoy, so you keep it up.

The first step is easy! Sit less! Sitting too many hours a day can increase your risk of heart disease. Before starting any exercise regimen, discuss your plans with your health care provider. Then start with shorter activities and increase your level of exertion and length of time as you progress. If you are a Medicare Advantage plan recipient, you are eligible for the Silver Sneakers Program, which provides an online fitness app, online classes, online workshops, and a no-cost gym membership!

So get ready to break a sweat. Time to lace up those sneakers, get your dancing shoes on, or start that autumn garden!

Jaclyn Cotgreave MS, PA-C is an Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies in the School of Health Professions at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York, and a Cardiac Electrophysiology Physician Assistant at Stony Brook University Medical Center.