Exercise Is Medicine!

April 2021 Newsletter.

Source: Exercise is Medicine® Canada, exerciseismedicine.org/canada

Spring is around the corner.  Runners and cyclists are back in our streets.  Physical activity hasundoubted health benefits.  Being active for at least 150 minutes per week can help reduce the risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, overweight and obesity and can lead to improved fitness, strength and mental health (morale and self-esteem).

How often should I exercise?

To achieve health benefits, adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.  It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least 2 days per week.  More physical activity provides greater health benefits.

What about aerobic intensity and how can I assess intensity?

Light exercise will usually not cause adults to sweat and breathe harder. 

It is easy to have a conversation at this intensity. Walking is the typical example of light exercise.

Moderate-intensity exercise will cause adults to sweat a little and breathe harder.

It is possible to have a conversation in short sentences.  On a scale relative to an individual’s personal capacity, moderate-intensity physical activity is usually 5 or 6 on a scale of 10.  Examples are brisk walking (as if you are late to get somewhere) and bike ride.

Vigorous-intensity exercise* will cause adults to sweat and be « out of breath ».  

It is difficult to have a conversation.  On a scale relative to an individual’s personal capacity, moderate-intensity physical activity is usually 7 or 8 on a scale of 10.  Examples are jogging, swimming laps, cross-country skiing and hiking on hills.

Moderate to Vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA)

MVPA is a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity activity.  This is what you’re aiming for to meet the guidelines!

And what about losing weight?  Improving fitness is more important than losing weight.  Low cardiovascular fitness is associated with a much higher risk of disease and death than being overweight.

Pick a time. Pick a place. Make a plan and move more!

  • Join a weekday community running or walking group.
  • Go for a brisk walk around the block after dinner.
  • Take a zumba or other class after work.
  • Bike or walk to work.
  • Rake the lawn, and then offer to do the same for a neighbour.
  • Train for and participate in a run or walk for charity !
  • Take up a favourite sport again or try a new sport.
  • Be active with the family on the weekend!

Now is the time. Walk, run, or wheel, and embrace life!

*You should see you health care professional before engaging in vigorous exercise.