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I am still in rehab, can I exercise with you?
I ache every morning, I have arthritis, can exercise help?
Can I exercise if I have heart problems?
Can regular exercise help my depression?
A review of studies stretching back to 1981 concluded that regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression and may play a supporting role in treating severe depression.
Another study, in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1999, divided 156 men and women with depression into three groups. One group took part in an aerobic exercise program, another took the SSRI sertraline (Zoloft) and a third did both. At the 16-week mark, depression had eased in all three groups. About 60%–70% of the people in all three groups could no longer be classed as having major depression. In fact, group scores on two rating scales of depression were essentially the same. This suggests that for those who need and wish to avoid drugs, exercise might be an acceptable substitute for antidepressants. Keep in mind, though, that the swiftest response occurred in the group taking antidepressants and that it can be difficult to stay motivated to exercise when you’re depressed.
A follow-up to that study found that exercise’s effects lasted longer than those of antidepressants. They found that the people who exercised regularly after completing the study, regardless of which treatment they were on originally, were less likely to relapse into depression.
Besides lifting your mood, regular exercise offers other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, protecting against heart disease and cancer and boosting self-esteem. How often or intensely you need to exercise to alleviate depression is not clear, but for general health, experts advise getting half an hour to an hour of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, on all or most days of the week.
Can I just walk and forget the rest?
How much physical activity is enough?
The ACSM and AHA recommend the following for healthy 50 plus year old adults:
- Do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity OR
- Do 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity OR
- Do an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
For healthy 65+ year-olds the recommendations are:
- Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week OR
- Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week AND
- Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.
Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.
How do I gauge my level of exercise?
I don’t like to exercise, but know I must.
I am not very patient, how long will it take until I see a difference in my body?
I like to exercise, but I don’t want to become too muscular.
I am afraid of falling, can you help?
I take a variety of medications, won’t that interfere with my exercise?
Of course your physician is the best one to assess how your medications will affect your outcomes. Once you receive clearance from your health care provider, we will then design a program specifically for you. Your safety is of utmost importance to us, so we will monitor your:
- Vital signs – such as blood pressure and pulse before, during and after exercise. This will serve as an initial guide as to whether you should proceed with exercise, modify or intensify, stop the program or arrange for medical intervention.
- Document all signs, symptoms, changes and complaints of discomfort in response to exercise.
- Encourage clients to stay well-hydrated before, during and after exercise. Given the potential for dehydration with antihypertensive medications – coupled with fluid loss from exercising – this is very important.
- Monitor exercise intensity appropriately based on medication and client’s physiological response.
- We will not focus entirely on resistance training with hypertensive clients. If using weights, we use lighter weights and increase the repetitions.
- Correct exercise techniques (posture) to avoid any further increase in blood pressure. Avoid placing legs above the heart, placing arms above the head and doing isometric exercises that are held longer than five seconds.
- We will use utmost caution when working with clients on anti-coagulant therapy, to reduce the risk of bumps and bruises that could precipitate a hemorrhage.
- Provide gradual warm-up exercises and movements and proper cool-down exercises to allow body to acclimate and prevent injury. It is recommended to warm-up and cool-down for at least 10 minutes.
- Try to organize exercise sessions with as few positional changes as possible to increase safety and decrease the injury.
I don’t like to eat breakfast before I work out, can I just skip it?
You know how mom used to always say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well, guess what? She was right! When it comes to realizing that breakfast is the fuel that keeps us running throughout the day, you’ll be surprised to know how your body can change if you take the time to eat this important meal.
The fuel that keeps our motors running is glucose. Your brain and your nervous system need glucose to work: that means walking, speaking, stretching, typing – any activity requires this fuel. If you don’t supply it, your system resorts to finding stored carbohydrates or it tries to turn fat into glucose. Why put your body through all this? Instead, do what your mom used to say and eat that breakfast!
My dad was diagnosed for beginning stage Alzheimer’s; I hear aerobic exercise would be good for him.
Yes, that is very true. There is no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, research provides some of the strongest evidence that regular exercise can protect the brain — and even improve cognitive performance — in older adults showing signs of mental decline. We work with clients with cognitive impairment every day; it just takes patience and perseverance.
We start as we do with any new client, with an assessment, then develop a routine that is aerobic in nature and includes other non-aerobic exercise activities to round out the program.
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