It is now mid-summer and perfect timing, as July is National Park and Recreation month.
I love this year’s theme-
“Discover the power of play and adventure. For children and adults, play is a vital part of our mental well-being, physical health and personal interactions”
“Local park and recreation agencies provide crucial health and wellness opportunities for all populations in communities across the country. As America continues to face serious health issues including rising rates of chronic disease, an increased prevalence of sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition habits, parks and recreation offer an affordable and accessible solution.”
This is right in line with my favorite topic, movement and exercise, and is a common blog topic as the national statistics on chronic disease and the lack of moving are staggering.
As a physical therapy profession we can do something, this is right in our wheelhouse. Physical therapists are THE movement specialists and it is our duty to keep the people moving in the communities in which we live. This summer, a growing group of physical therapists are joining forces with the hashtag #summerofMOVE to spread the awareness of the benefits of exercise and movement. This movement is started by, Free the Yoke a website dedicated to freeing the yoke of chronic disease through exercise and movement. Are you part of a ‘movement awareness’ group? Let us know through Twitter, email, or leave a comment below! We’d love to know and share with our readers!
There are many recent research studies outlining the benefits of exercise and movement with different populations. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – has guidelines for physical activity.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that children be active for at least one hour every day.
“In the USA, 27 percent of kids actually get that.” said David Egner, president of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.
It would be easy to blame new technology and video games for the dismal rates of physical activity that kids get today. But the reasons are a lot more complex than that, Egner says. It is combination of access to parks, early sport specialization, socioeconomic issues, and technology.
The Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program, has several recommendations for communities and families to help get kids more physically active, including encouraging kids to sample different sports, reintroducing free play, and revitalizing local sports leagues.
Low Back Pain – Regularly engaging in physical activity, from walking to intense exercise, may help to reduce the risk of chronic low back pain by as much as 16% according to a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Heart Disease – Exercise has a favorable effect on virtually all risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Exercise limits inflammation associated with heart disease. Many recent studies have focused on C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. Research showed that sedentary folks who embarked on three- to six-month exercise programs, on average, experienced a 30 percent dip in their C-reactive protein levels – about the same drop as someone given a statin.
Cancer – The relationship between physical activity and cancer has shown that greater levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with a lower risk of developing 13 different types of cancer. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to consider yourself physically active. Walking at about 3 mph (or 20 minutes per mile) is considered moderate intensity. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week (or a combination of these). You can get in the recommended activity levels by just walking on your lunch break for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Diabetes – you don’t have to look very hard to find the positive relationship of exercise and Diabetes.
Exercise and the Brain
Makes you smarter –
A meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that physical exercise improved cognitive function in the over 50s, regardless of the cognitive status of participants. Interventions of aerobic exercise, resistance training, multi-component training and tai chi, all had significant point estimates. The results of the meta-analysis were consistent and independent of the cognitive domain tested or the cognitive status of the participants.
Children with attention difficulty –
The Health Behaviors & Cognition Laboratory out of Michigan State University is currently doing research related to exercise and children with ADHD.
Exercise and Mood – A recently published review gathers information about exercise and how it effect the mood, and cognition. The graph on 4 is great. We now can prescribe an exercise and duration for a specific neuro-behavior or neuro-chemical change and have an expectation for how long that change with last.
My simple conclusion to the overwhelming evidence. Find an activity that you enjoy and move, move, MOVE!!