Why Should You Exercise – What are you Trying To Achieve?

Why Should You Exercise – What are you Trying to Achieve?

The newspapers have been full of advice again last week about the benefits of exercise for us all and how we really don’t need to do much to be more healthy but what are you exercising for?

Did you read that the more you exercise the less likely you are to get Alzheimer’s Disease? Do you fear cardiovascular disease? Do you want to strengthen your back to avoid recurrent back pain?

 

Do you do the same exercises to help all of these aims or should you be doing different ones to help different issues?

Research regarding Alzheimer’s Disease and improving cognitive fitness as you age, recent research at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health,  showed that 646 adults who were tracked over 30 years showed no link with activity and cognitive fitness in later years and also showed that increased exercise did not avoid or delay the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s  Disease 2017; 59 (4): 1349 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-170290. It showed that exercise does help to maintain cognitive fitness in the short term, however, so don’t think that you really don’t need to do something after all!

The thing is that exercise IS good for achieving cardiovascular health. If you exercise so that the blood flow increases through your blood vessels then it reduces the likelihood of strokes because if you have slow blood flow it encourages plaques to build up inside the walls of blood vessels and these get bigger if the blood flow is sluggish and can eventually clog a blood vessel or a clot can break off and cause problems if it blocks a small artery leading to the heart.

Exercise also obviously increases the blood supply to the brain, which is linked to better cognitive performance, which is why studies show short term improvement in brain function.

So exercise helps you think better short term and is good for heart health and stroke prevention. What about your back? I have written many articles about the benefits of exercise for back pain prevention. I hate exercising but I have to do it – it works! It really doesn’t matter too much what you do as long as you do something! The older we get the more we need to do some kind of exercise to avoid pain and stiffness. For me a great exercise to help with day to day activities is squatting.

You need to stand with your feet hip width apart and hold a weight or a small water bottle in each hand. Hold the weights at your shoulders and squat down, keeping your back straight and imagine you are sitting on a low box which is positioned behind you. Slowly stand up again and pus the weights above your head as you do so. Try 20 of these but really concentrate when you do them – you need perfect form so if possible do them in front of a mirror. Watch your feet and make sure they face the front. Don’t let your knees drop together, keep them apart slightly and parallel. Don’t ‘stick your bottom out’ by creating a back curve – keep your back straight so all the effort is in your legs and your buttock muscles. When you stand up, squeeze your buttock muscles.

Afterwards when you go upstairs, focus on your buttock muscles and try to get a ‘spring’ in your step. When you sit down or get out of a chair or pick something off the floor – use the squat. When you make the bed or get something out of the oven – use the squat. When you get in and out of the car or work in the garden or garage – use the squat. Think of as many ways to use the squat to keep your back in a neutral position and so that you use your buttock muscles to do what you need to do instead of twisting or using back muscles.

Why Should You Exercise – What are you Trying to Achieve?

The newspapers have been full of advice again last week about the benefits of exercise for us all and how we really don’t need to do much to be more healthy but what are you exercising for?

Did you read that the more you exercise the less likely you are to get Alzheimer’s Disease? Do you fear cardiovascular disease? Do you want to strengthen your back to avoid recurrent back pain?

Do you do the same exercises to help all of these aims or should you be doing different ones to help different issues?

Research regarding Alzheimer’s Disease and improving cognitive fitness as you age, recent research at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health,  showed that 646 adults who were tracked over 30 years showed no link with activity and cognitive fitness in later years and also showed that increased exercise did not avoid or delay the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s  Disease 2017; 59 (4): 1349 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-170290. It showed that exercise does help to maintain cognitive fitness in the short term, however, so don’t think that you really don’t need to do something after all!

The thing is that exercise IS good for achieving cardiovascular health. If you exercise so that the blood flow increases through your blood vessels then it reduces the likelihood of strokes because if you have slow blood flow it encourages plaques to build up inside the walls of blood vessels and these get bigger if the blood flow is sluggish and can eventually clog a blood vessel or a clot can break off and cause problems if it blocks a small artery leading to the heart.

Exercise also obviously increases the blood supply to the brain, which is linked to better cognitive performance, which is why studies show short term improvement in brain function.

So exercise helps you think better short term and is good for heart health and stroke prevention. What about your back? I have written many articles about the benefits of exercise for back pain prevention. I hate exercising but I have to do it – it works! It really doesn’t matter too much what you do as long as you do something! The older we get the more we need to do some kind of exercise to avoid pain and stiffness. For me a great exercise to help with day to day activities is squatting.

squat

 

You need to stand with your feet hip width apart and hold a weight or a small water bottle in each hand. Hold the weights at your shoulders and squat down, keeping your back straight and imagine you are sitting on a low box which is positioned behind you. Slowly stand up again and pus the weights above your head as you do so. Try 20 of these but really concentrate when you do them – you need perfect form so if possible do them in front of a mirror. Watch your feet and make sure they face the front. Don’t let your knees drop together, keep them apart slightly and parallel. Don’t ‘stick your bottom out’ by creating a back curve – keep your back straight so all the effort is in your legs and your buttock muscles. When you stand up, squeeze your buttock muscles.

Afterwards when you go upstairs, focus on your buttock muscles and try to get a ‘spring’ in your step. When you sit down or get out of a chair or pick something off the floor – use the squat. When you make the bed – use the squat. When you get in and out of the car or work in the garden or garage – use the squat. Think of as many ways to use the squat to keep your back in a neutral position and so that you use your buttock muscles to do what you need to do instead of twisting or using back muscles.turkey

If you are in doubt then discuss exercise with one of our chiropractors – they really DO help in so many ways and you don’t have to do hours per day – just a few minutes of SOMETHING!

Go for a walk – don’t think whether you want to do it or not – just go – for 10 minutes! It is as good as any exercise … find something you enjoy!

If you are in doubt then discuss exercise with one of our chiropractors – they really DO help in so many ways and you don’t have to do hours per day – just a few minutes of SOMETHING!

 

 

 

 

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