“If exercise could be packaged in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” – Robert H. Butler
Exercise is medicine! It can be used by anyone to help achieve any health or performance related goals, but by no means does exercise solve every problem alone! Exercise provides a wide variety of health benefits, and these are maximised when combined with a healthy diet and good work-life balance. Hence, it is essential that exercise is a part of our daily routine.
In this post, we will be discussing the benefits that regular exercise provides. In addition, we’ll provide details on how much exercise we need to complete and potential barriers that could hold us back.
The benefits of exercise
The number of health benefits that regular exercise provides is tremendous. Anyone can reap the rewards of exercise, no matter the circumstances or goals. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Cardiovascular health and function
- Musculoskeletal and bone health and function
- Lung health and function
- Digestive system health and function
- Mental health and mood
- Athletic performance
- Overall function and quality of life
- Reducing the risk of:
- Increased stress and anxiety
- Chronic health conditions
- All-cause mortality
- Assisting with:
- Weight loss
- Rehabilitation from an injury
How much should I exercise?
The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines provide recommendations as to how much and the type of exercise an individual should complete throughout a week. In summary, these guidelines suggest that adults should:
- Be physically active on most, preferably all, days each week
- 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every week (20 to 40 minutes every day)
- 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity every week (10 to 20 minutes each day)
- Or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity
- Complete muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days every week
It is also important to make sure that we minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting, breaking up long periods of sitting as often as possible.
Although these guidelines are a great starting point, the ideal amount and intensity of exercise is dependant on individuals circumstances and goals. It is important to remember that no matter the circumstances, something is always better than nothing! It will always be more valuable to find 5-10 minutes each day to exercise than to do none at all.
What if I can't exercise?
There are many barriers and obstacles that can prevent people from incorporating exercise into their daily routine. In a lot of cases, it seems impossible to be able to work around these obstacles. Common barriers that are encountered include:
- Not enough time
- Not having access to equipment
- Fear of failing/safety
- Injury, pain or discomfort
- Perceived Capability
- Lack of motivation or feelings of depression
- Lack of social support
- Don’t know what to do or where to start
Over the coming weeks, we will be creating posts that will provide you with strategies to overcome various barriers and obstacles. Comment down below if you are facing any barriers and we will make sure to talk about it in a future post!
We are here to help!
Exercise Physiologists specialise in assisting individuals use exercise as a form of medicine to achieve health and performance goals. If you would like some assistance or advice on how you can use exercise to enhance your quality of life, overall function and achieve your goals, contact us to organise an appointment to see one of our Exercise Physiologists.
Want to know more?
Keep your eyes open for more posts coming in the near future – there will be a new post every Wednesday!
Here is a sneak peek into some posts that will be coming your way over the next few weeks:
- No gym, no problem!
- Hang on, exercise can be fun?
- 5 ways to squeeze in exercise when you don’t have time!
- Returning to health after COVID-19
Please leave a comment below if you have any topic ideas that you would like us to discuss!
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Department of Health, 2019, Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, Department of Health, retrieved June 2020, https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines
Lees, F.D., Clark, P.G., Nigg, C.R. and Newman, P., 2005. Barriers to exercise behavior among older adults: a focus-group study. Journal of aging and physical activity, 13(1), pp.23-33.
Riebe, D., 2016, ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, Philadelphia Wolters Klumer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Health, 10th ed.
Photos provided by Annie Spratt, Jenny Hill, Jorge Ibanez and Kike Vega via Unsplash.com