Breaking News….Exercise is Good for you …. Imagine That!

Jul 19, 2012
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Breaking News …. Exercise is Good for You … Imagine That!

In the news today new research is telling us that inactivity is responsible for almost as many deaths each year as smoking!  That’s about 5.3 million deaths worldwide per year.

We have always known that exercise is good for us.  Plato said “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it”. But too often we hear excuses for not doing exercise such as not having time or enough money.

I suspect that also people have become scared of exercise, that is to say that when they think of exercise they think of gyms, Lycra and top class athletes that they must emulate.  They see themselves and think “I can’t be like them, I’m so unfit that I couldn’t possibly even get started!”

But we don’t have to run for miles, pump iron in the gym, join a triathlon club or buy a step machine.  If we look at the current health guidelines we should be doing two and a half hours of moderate intensity, aerobic and muscular strengthening exercise.  That equates to less than 26 minutes per day spread over the week.

Exercise can mean anything that raises the heart rate and gets you a bit out of breath.  Walking the dog, going up stairs, gardening, playing with children and even sex all count as exercise.  In fact for human beings exercise as we know it these days is quite an alien concept.  After all sitting still whilst driving several miles to the gym then running on the spot on a treadmill going nowhere for half an hour is completely nuts if you think about it!

According to the Lancet it is about using the body that we have in the way it was designed, which is to walk often, run sometimes, and move in ways where we physically exert ourselves regularly whether that is at work, at home, in transport to and from places, or during leisure time in our daily lives.

So let’s try to think about exercise in a different way.  What if you went for a walk in the evening for twenty minutes, ten minutes from the house and back?  Throughout the working week you would have done an hour and forty minutes exercise already.  Add to that walking up the stairs in the car park rather than taking the lift on Saturday afternoon in town and a bit of vigorous weeding in the garden on Sunday and you are just about there.

People often see exercise as a way to lose weight or get fit for the summer but let’s start to see it for what it should be – for health.  Exercise helps to make your heart stronger, helps to prevent many cancers, tones up muscles preventing back and neck pain and can really help to relieve stress and depression and ultimately helps you live a longer, healthier life.

So let’s all get outside a bit – especially if the weather is about to get better as they promise.  Make a small change and see the benefits – you can always make more changes later.  Let’s get healthier!

5 Ways to Pain Free Gardening

Jun 25, 2011
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At this time of year osteopaths see a lot of people with back pain resulting from gardening injuries.
Whilst back pain is a very common ailment in the population there are ways to prevent back pain and neck pain ruining your love of gardening.
LIFT SMALLER LOADS – Often we see people at garden centres loading up their cars with sacks of wood chips, top soil and compost. 
Bear in mind that you will have to lift them several times; into the car, out of the car and to wherever you are working in the garden.  By taking care to lift one at a time (ideally between two people), bending your knees and keeping your back straight your back and neck will endure minimum strain.
USE A WHEEL BARROW – Moving heavy compost and plant pots around the garden can easily strain your back or give you neck pain. 
By using a wheel barrow even for short trips this risk can be reduced.
LITTLE AND OFTEN – As an osteopath, the majority of people I see at this time of year with acute pain are gardeners who have tried to do too much in one day.  Typically they have a job that does not involve lifting and so their back is not accustomed to that type of
activity.  Also they don’t spend much time gardening throughout the year and consequently they need to do a lot in the spring.  By doing a small amount several times a week the risk of back and neck injury is vastly reduced.
SWAP ACTIVITIES REGULARLY – Gardens and flower beds can be quite large and accordingly keeping them tidy can be big jobs. 
Weeding, pruning and mowing can all be enough to cause injury if done too much.  By doing a period of weeding then leaving it to mow a part of the lawn before returning to the weeding gives the back muscles a chance to recover and therefore reduces the chance of back
KNEEL TO WEED – Osteopaths often see people bending from the hips when working on the ground.  By simply kneeling on a pad the
spine can be supported by leaning on one hand and using the other to pull weeds.
AFTERWARDS – HAVE A HOT BATH OR USE AN ICE PACK – Tired muscles respond very well to heat and helps to prevent them from seizing up.  Alternatively, if you have any pain in the back or in the muscles put an ice pack on the area for ten minutes to reduce any inflammation.  Details of how to use an ice pack can be found on our website
If you do injure yourself and need help don’t hesitate to contact us at Back to Health.  We know about back pain!
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