As a child growing in Ontario, Canada I can remember when school let out for summer vacation. We would head up to Nana and Grandpa’s on Georgian Bay and spend the next 6-8 weeks swimming, fishing, catching bait, exploring and generally moving outside from sun up ‘til sun down. The vast majority of that time was spent barefoot and clad only in swim trunks. In the fall and winter it was come home from school, grab the hockey sticks and nets and play road hockey ‘til we couldn’t move-or mum called for dinner or bed time.
Of course there weren’t the distractions of video games, cell phones, Facebook, or the internet, yet we certainly never were bored. Recent research has determined that today’s generation of kids will be the first to have a shorter life span than their parents due to large increases in chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.
Recess has been cut from schools, gym classes reduced or removed and after school sports are becoming cost prohibitive for parents and schools alike. Today’s kids are much less active than even my generation. But it is not just the kids. Many of us active kids have grown up to become sedentary adults and afflicted by chronic disease at ever increasing rates, often for many of the same reasons.
If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, since most people plant themselves in front of the television at the end of the day anyways, I recommend watching the movie “Wall-E.” It is a great social commentary in were we are headed as a society, but does provide hope for turning things around.
The problem is that when we were young our priorities were all about enjoying life and exercise was a natural consequence of our pursuit of this happiness. We didn’t have to go to the gym, the gym was built into or environment.
Today with the responsibilities of life most people have to look at exercise as a separate entity that needs to be fit into our daily schedule. Unfortunately exercise has become a lower priority and is often left off the agenda as time constraints reduce or “free” time. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
First is to understand that exercise can be built into our daily lives and doesn’t require any special equipment, can be social and often doesn’t require huge amounts of time. The first rule of thumb is to move. One can take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, park further from the mall entrance when you go shopping, get down on the floor and wrestle the kids or actually walk the dog instead of taking him to the dog park and watching him run. The options are endless and require only a little imagination.
Still, most people equate exercise with going to the gym, not a bad thing especially if you are social, and working yourself into a lather. Unfortunately most people have the wrong idea about what exercise should look like and end up over training and eventually hurting themselves.
Think about this next time you have the urge to hit the gym hard. The vast majority of our exercise should be at a submaximal level keeping our heart rate at 75% of or max (simply 220-age). This means walking, light bike riding or swimming that could be done for longer periods of time such as 30-60 minutes. These types of exercises should really be done on a daily basis.
Resistance training should be included a couple of times a week. I recommend body weight exercises that mimic things that our ancestors would have done in everyday life: climbing, squatting, and pressing. Sample exercises would be push-ups, pull-ups, air squats, jackknife presses, planks to name a few. Mark Sisson has some great information at
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-fitness/#axzz3UC9zf1Sa where you can download a free copy.
A couple of times a week I also recommend adding some high intensity training (HIT) were you increase the heart rate for a short burst followed by a longer interval of active rest. There are a number of versions out there such as the “Tabata” Program. Here is a short video talking about the latest research on this principle and using a stationary cycle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7-h_w7bJrU
The key is to find exercises or activities that you like and will actually do on a consistent basis. Make sure they are fun and include games or play in our routine to keep it interesting. Most of these activities can be done safely, in a relatively short period of time and yet result in great improvement to your health with minimal risk.
Before starting any exercise program, make sure your body is ready for the increase in activity by getting checked by a professional. If you have any questions regarding implementing an exercise routine in your daily life give us a call at the Art of Chiropractic and we will help you get started…
Movement is life,
Dr. Doug Davies has been practicing the art of chiropractic for over 10 years and brings his skills to the downtown Gresham, OR area focusing on achieving and maintaining the innate lifestyle...