We are frequently asked “what is the best type of exercise for me to do?”
The implicit underlying assumption is that one form of exercise is superior to another and that this holds good for everyone. For example, running being better than weight training or a hard exercise class being preferable to an easier one because you burn more calories.
In reality, there is no absolute best form of exercise. Like an optimal diet, different forms of exercise suit different individuals.
Ideally, your exercise of choice should:
- moderately exercise your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems
- last a minimum of 30 minutes per day
- be repeated daily
- be enjoyable
- make you feel great
Pressed for time?
In our increasingly busy lives, time can often seem like a limiting factor.
For many people, if regular exercise is to be incorporated into their lifestyle, then the exercise needs to be ‘cost effective’ in terms of the benefits it brings compared to the cost in terms of time and effort spent on doing it.
Evidence of health benefits
Research shows that in health terms, the right amount of exercise yields measurably large health benefits (1,2).
A study in Japan demonstrated that a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure was reduced by almost a third if they walked at least 21 minutes per day (3).
Studies following patients with cardiovascular disease conclude that those who do some exercise have a more positive outcome than those who do no exercise (4,5). One study showed a substantial improvement in outcome even with one walk per week.
Other research suggests that regular exercise can reduce the likelihood of developing cognitive impairment and dementia (6).
Looking at the effects of a lack of exercise, we know that prolonged sitting has an adverse effect on health.
A large study in Australia looking at the effects of sitting calculated that those who sat & watched a screen for 6 hours per day live on average 4.8 years less than those who are more active (7).
Quite a sobering finding! Enough to encourage those of us who work at a desk to consider using a standing desk & to break up screen viewing times with stretches and movement.
The health benefits of exercise are not a recent revelation. Hippocrates was a Greek physician who lived more than 2000 years ago. He is known as the father of modern medicine and he advocated diet and exercise in the treatment of illness. He is credited with saying ‘walking is man’s best medicine’.
Dr Mike Evans, a Canadian doctor and health educator, argues that walking/exercising for 30 minutes per day is the single most effective way to dramatically improve your health(8). ‘Movement is medicine’ is one of his quotes.
Are you concerned about not doing enough exercise? Wokingham Chiropractic may be able to help.
Restoring and encouraging mobility has always been part of the Chiropractic approach to healthcare.
We are experienced in helping people return to a healthy lifestyle.
Call us today on 0118 9787 466 and we’ll gladly advise you.
1.Circulation 2007 Aug 28;116(9):1081-93. Epub 2007 Aug 1.
2.Pate RR, Pratt M, Blair SN, et al. Physical activity and public health. A recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. JAMA. 1995;273(5):402–407.
3.Hayashi T, et al. Walking to work and the risk for hypertension in men: the Osaka Health Survey. Ann Intern Med. July 6, 1999;131:21–6.
4.Blair SN, Jackson AS. Physical fitness and activity as separate heart disease risk factors: a meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001; 33: 762–764.
5.Niebauer et al Circulation. 1997; 96: 2534-2541
6.Blondell, Sarah J., Hammersley-Mather, Rachel and Veerman, J. Lennert (2014) Does physical activity prevent cognitive decline and dementia? BMC Public Health, 14 1: 510.1-510.12.
7.Veerman et al. 46 (13): 927.Br J Sports Med 2012;46
Image courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net