Exercise – A Vital Component to Healthy Living

By Rich Baudry, PT, DPT, OCS

The benefits of exercise are well documented and include favorable effects on body composition, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.  At it’s core, exercise improves the quality of our movement and thus our function.  But as there are many options when it comes to exercise, what’s really the best exercise for you? Well, by determining why you want to exercise you will discover how you should exercise.  The movement  qualities of coordination, endurance, strength, and power can all be improved with exercise.

Coordination refers to the ability to move body parts in an effective and efficient way. Coordination requires using the appropriate amount of muscle activity with the right speed and direction, at the right time. This requires the controlled firing of the appropriate muscles in a smoothly sequenced way. An ideal way to train for coordination is to use light resistance and perform many repetitions.  In order to gain coordination for a particular task may take as many as 10,000 repetitions.

Endurance is the ability to perform an activity for an extended period of time and is specific to the function at hand. Endurance training typically includes lighter resistances for longer periods of time or repetitions. This type of training relies heavily on the cardiovascular system.

Strength is the amount of torque a muscle or group of muscles can generate. A certain amount of strength is required for any activity. Strength is generally gained by lifting at moderate to heavier weight. Strength gains are directly proportional to the resistances used.  The lighter resistances produce modest strength gains, while higher resistances produce greater gains. Generally, when exercising for strength you should use a weight that you can lift for 8-15 repetitions.

Power is strength with speed. For pure strengthening you may use a weight that you can lift only 3-8 times.

The truth is that all of these qualities of movement are vital to healthy living; so, incorporating variety with your training is certainly important. To help you better target your workout, identify why you are working out. Your answer will help focus your program. The appropriate level of training depends on many factors. Things like your age, physical condition, previous injury, joint problems, arthritis, and/or the presence of other medical conditions affect your tolerance for training and must be taken into consideration when developing your exercise program.

Exercising is too important to your health to avoid. So for better success with exercising, put some extra thought into your exercise strategies. Start today. Any training is better then none at all, so get out there and do it!

For more information on how to train please contact our office or ask questions below.