Four weeks have gone by since most of us made our New Years resolutions for 2017. January is arguably one of the busiest times in the gym due to the popular New Years resolution to start exercising or to exercise more. While some fitness goals may be for aesthetic reasons, regular exercise also has many other important health benefits. There has been a recent shift towards treating and preventing several chronic diseases with lifestyle interventions, such as regular exercise. The rising prevalence of chronic diseases, especially in North America, has been partly attributed to physical inactivity. In fact, physical inactivity has been attributed to the 4th leading cause of death globally (1).
The “exercise pill” is too often forgotten as a remedy and treatment for chronic diseases. Implementing regular physical activity has been shown to improve and manage a large range of chronic health conditions. For example, regular exercise has been shown to be more effective than insulin administration in managing blood glucose levels in type II diabetics (1). Exercise has also been effective in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary heart disease (1). Additionally, regular exercise has been shown to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety as effectively as behavioural therapy or medication (1). Exercise and pharmacotherapy combined may have an additional benefit compared to either alone in the management of many chronic diseases (1).
Participating in a regular exercise routine also has benefits other than the treatment of chronic disease with few negative side effects. Regular exercise improves health outcomes in a number of ways such as increasing aerobic capacity, lowering body fat percentage, increasing strength and mobility, as well as numerous other physical and mental health benefits. A great deal of literature indicates a reduction in health risk with 3% to 5% reduction in weight (2). Physical activity is recommended as a major component of weight management for prevention of weight gain, for weight loss, as well as prevention of weight regain after losing weight (2). Additionally, resistance training is also associated with reductions in health risk, as well as potential increase fat-free mass and an increase loss of fat mass (2).
Not only can physical activity help to manage an individual’s chronic disease, physical activity can also be used in the prevention of many chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, stroke, heart disease, some cancers (i.e. colon cancer), osteoporosis and obesity (3). So what is the “dose” of exercise needed to help prevent chronic disease and maintain quality of life? While research is still ongoing in this area, general physical activity guidelines exist. The Canadian Physical Activity guidelines for anyone from 18-64 are listed below (3):
- Accumulate 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous- intensity aerobic physical activity per week (in 10 minute bouts or more) [Moderate intensity physical activity includes activities such as bike riding and brisk walking. Vigorous intensity physical activity includes activities such as tennis, jogging, and cross country skiing.]
- Add at least 2 strengthening activities per week that target major muscle groups
- Any physical activity above and beyond the first 2 guidelines results in greater health benefits
The video “23 and 1/2 hours” illustrates the importance of daily physical activity for your health:
At the Movement Performance Centre we can help you reach your individual fitness and health goals. Whether you want to improve physical performance, gain mobility, build strength, or just generally stay healthy, our certified fitness coach and Kinesiologist can help you achieve realistic and obtainable results. Results are achieved using Keiser state of the art strength and conditioning technology and equipment, within the exclusive environment of the Movement Performance Centre facility.
At Movement Performance Centre we offer:
- Group training
- Semi-private training
- One-on-one personal training
- “Exercise is Medicine” is a global initiative that advocates for the benefits of physical activity for health and quality of life. For more information click the link:
- American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults.
- The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology