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June 2024

Daily exercise is the wonder drug we’ve all been looking for

If a single pill could have all these health benefits, everyone would want a prescription:


  • Build stronger bones and muscles

  • Control weight

  • Combat chronic health conditions

  • Improve heart and lung function

  • Elevate mood

  • Boost energy

  • Increase your chances of living longer

  • Help prevent falls

  • Promote better sleep


Obviously, no such wonder drug exists. Fortunately, there is a better remedy: daily exercise.


Trust us, we know the word “exercise” can conjure the fear of expensive fitness equipment or gym membership. But you don’t need either of those. In fact, many people find it’s easier to stick to an exercise routine without equipment or commitment.


To get the health benefits of exercise, the goal is to simply get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, according to the CDC. In other words, it doesn’t require an Olympic effort. And there are ways you can cheat to reach that goal (more on that below).


Physical therapists are always preaching the benefits of physical activity, which the PTs here at Blue Ridge Orthopedic & Spine Center frequently refer to as “movement is medicine.”


Movement is Medicine


We think “Movement is Medicine” is pretty catchy so we’re going to use it as the name of our super simple exercise program, which is based on CDC recommendations (if you have any concerns about starting an exercise program, please consult your doctor first).


To help you get started, read about the goals, cheats, and level-ups below. And we highly suggest downloading a Physical Activity Log to keep track of your progress.


Use this Physical Activity Log to get you started. After a few weeks, exercise will become a habit!


30 minutes a day — As an adult, your goal is to spend a minimum of 210 minutes every week engaged in moderate physical activity (this goal is based on CDC guidelines and suitable for most adults*). 


Cheats


Anything goes — Just about any type of moderate physical activity counts. If you spend 30 minutes raking leaves, log it!


Fast forward — Hit your goal og twice as many minutes when you engage in vigorous physical activity. In other words, if you exercise vigorously for 10 minutes, that counts as 20 minutes of moderate physical activity. 


Break it up — If you’re too busy to exercise, try shorter, 10-minute increments throughout the day.


Level-ups


Muscle mass — Replace aerobic exercise with strength training two days a week (log it as moderate physical activity).


Bigger gains — Increase your goal from 210 minutes per week to 300 minutes (especially if you’re trying to lose weight).


What counts as moderate physical activity?


The activity should feel somewhat challenging and get your heart beating faster. Some examples include:


n Walking briskly

n Playing pickleball

n Swimming recreationally

n Gardening

n Cycling on level ground

n Ballroom dancing




What counts as vigorous physical activity?


You’re exercising vigorously when you can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath.


n Shoveling heavy snow

n Hiking uphill

n Playing soccer

n Jumping rope


*Use the QR code on the reverse side to find a downloadable Physical Activity Log for ages 6-17 (exercise goals are different for this age group) and to make additional copies of  this form. If you do not currently exercise regularly, you should consult with your doctor before you begin, especially If you have cardiovascular, metabolic, or renal disease.

The information on this blog should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations.

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