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Total Fitness Blog

How Much Physical Activity Should I Do?

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) guidelines, the following is recommended:

1.    Preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) should be physically active at least for 3 hours, if not more. Adult caregivers should encourage active play that includes a variety of activity types and limits sitting-around time, such as screen time.

2.    Children and adolescents (ages 6 through 17 years) need at least 60 minutes or more of activity a day. This includes activities to strengthen bones, build muscles, and get the heart beating faster.

3.    Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, and at least 2 days for muscle-strengthening activities. Adding more time provides further benefits.

4.    Older adults (ages 65 and older) should do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week and include muscle-strengthening activities 2 days a week. You should also add components, such as balance training as well. If you have limitations due to preexisting conditions, consult with a health care provider and be as physically active as your abilities allow.

5.    Pregnant and postpartum women who were physically active before pregnancy can continue these activities during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, but they should consult their health care provider about any necessary adjustments.

6.    Adults with chronic health conditions and disabilities, who are able, should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. You should consult with a health care provider about the types and amounts that are appropriate for you. CALL TOTAL FITNESS at 715-526-2899 to inquire about Group Fitness Classes,  Personal Training or just get in a Workout. Visit us at www.shawanototalfitness


Jean Darling, DPT, LAT, Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor

Has anyone told you to warm up before you exercise, run or play sports? Warming up seems easy to do doesn’t it? What may be simple to do, is also simple not to do and the biggest mistake people make is skipping this very important component of exercise. Let’s discuss what you need to know to warm up properly to be more effective in your run or sport. Most people sit for long periods of time or lie in bed before the exercise. Warming up helps you shift gears both mentally and physically.  Its preparation—kind of like chopping vegetables before cooking. The way you prepare your veggies changes the meal and cooking them can be more challenging if you skip chopping or do it poorly. The same is true of your body when you warm up incorrectly or skip it all together.

When you warm up: *the brain shifts its attention to activity mode

                                      *joints move through full range of motion

                                      *your heart rate increases gradually instead of abruptly

                                      *blood circulates through your system

                                      *muscles practice movements to come

                                      *the likelihood of injury decrease

There are different ways to warm up for different exercises. It’s not there’s a right way and a wrong way to warm up, but there are better and more effective methods you can apply. Common mistakes are Ballistic stretching, Static Stretching and Jumping right into your activity. Your time is valuable, so why not get the maximum benefit? To be most effective, warm-up movements should mimic the activity you are about to do. Warm up for one to three minutes before the activity and perform each move five to ten times.  These are called Dynamic  Stretches and ideas to perform prior to running may be Ankle Rolls, Torso Rotation, High Knee Marches, Walking, and Arm Circles just to name a few. As a reminder, it does not matter which activity you chose, it is best to start slow and ease into it slowly to avoid injury.

Most people think of heart rate or blood pressure when they think of vital signs. It is common to use numbers to quantify health and risk of disease. The American Heart Association encourages people to "know their numbers" referring to blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood glucose, and weight. However, research is now showing the importance of moving properly for health. Let's take a look at some of the numbers you can use to quantify your movement health:

Walking Speed

Walking speed has been called the "sixth vital sign" in medical literature recently. It is easy to measure, and takes into account strength, balance, coordination, confidence, cardiovascular fitness, tolerance to activity, and a whole host of other factors. It has also been shown to be predictive of future hospitalizations, functional decline, and overall mortality. Normal walking speed is considered to be 1.2 to 1.4 meters per second.

Push Ups

Push ups are popular to build strength, but a recent study found that they can show us a lot about your heart too. Researchers found that men who could do 40 or more consecutive push ups were at a 96% lower risk for cardiovascular disease than were men who could do less than 10. The push up test was also more useful in predicting future cardiovascular disease than aerobic capacity measured on a treadmill.

Grip Strength

Hand grip strength has been shown to be strongly correlated with health. The stronger your hand grip is, the less likely you are to suffer from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, COPD, and all types of cancer. In the study, muscle weakness was defined as grip strength <26 kg for men and <16 kg for women. Grip strength below these numbers was highly correlated with an increase in disease.

Standing From the Floor

If you can't easily get down on the floor and back up your health might be in trouble, according to a study that looked at more than 2,000 people. The study asked people to go from standing to sitting on the floor and back up with as little support as needed. They found that if you need to use more than one hand to get up and down from the floor that you were 2 to 5 times more likely to die in the next 7 years than someone who can do it with just one hand, or even better, no hands at all.

Moving well is obviously important to overall health and longer life. These tests can give a snapshot of how you're doing. If you're having trouble with any of them, considering seeing a movement specialist - your physical therapist; Dr Jean Darling, PT, DPT, LAT




Strength Training

      Strength training is an important type of exercise, but becomes even more important as people age. Without resistance training, we begin to lose somewhere between 0.5% and 1% of our muscle mass each year.  With this loss of muscle mass comes higher levels of arthritis pain, more difficulty with things like getting out of a chair or going up steps, higher risk for falls and injuries, and eventually the possibility of loss of independence.  

     Research has shown that people of any age can benefit from strength training, so just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that you can’t get any stronger. When many people hear “strength training” they automatically picture someone straining under a heavy barbell. However, strength training can be performed with resistance bands, machines, dumbbells, barbells, and many other types of equipment. The key to strength training is that the resistance gets stronger as you do.  

      The data we have also shows that increasing strength can reduce pain from arthritis, and make things like climbing steps, carrying groceries, taking a bath, and preparing a meal easier. Strength training can also help to reduce your risk of falls and maintain your independence.  

      If you’d like to begin strength training and start reaping the benefits, we can help you design a plan that’s both effective and safe. They can teach you the correct movements and monitor your progress, helping you increase your resistance the right amount at the right time.  Call now to TOTAL FITNESS at 715-526-2899 for further information.