A Healthy Exercise Program – Are you getting enough exercise each week?

Adriane Ward – Exercise Physiologist from MD Health

When looking at leading a healthy lifestyle, we need to look not only at the food we are eating but also the type of exercise we are doing. In terms of exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that healthy adults should participate in the following

  •  Two to three strength training sessions;
  • At least three vigorous aerobic activities; and
  • At least five sessions of moderate aerobic activity each week.

What does this mean?

According to The American College of Sports Medicine guidelines, 2009:

  • Two to three 20-60 minute strength training sessions include exercises such as resistance, balance or agility; the types of exercises you may find in a Pilates program. Pilates will often use machines such as reformers that have springs which provide the resistance. Many of the exercises may be performed whilst standing next to or on the reformer which requires proprioception which assists your balance. The exercises are closed chained kinematic which assist with motor learning and provide the body with feedback for faster learning.
  • Vigorous aerobic exercise is obtained by getting your heart rate above 60% of your maximum heart rate (using 220-age as a calculator for your maximum heart rate) for 20-60 minutes and you should notice a substantial increase heart rate and breathing. This could include walking, running cycling or even swimming, as long as you push yourself hard enough to increase your heart rate to above 60% of your maximum heart rate.
  • Moderate aerobic exercise is the defined as exercising with a heart rate between 40 and 60% of your maximum heart rate for between 20-60 minutes. This intensity of exercise should be done at least five times per week. This could include a combination of brisk walks, jogging, cycling or swimming on most days of the week. During moderate aerobic exercise your heart rate doesn’t need to get as high as it does during vigorous aerobic exercise but you should still notice an increase in your heart rate and breathing.

This is the recommended weekly exercise participation for healthy adults. There are different guidelines for children, older adults and special populations including illness and pregnancy. If you are unsure of what sort and how much exercise is appropriate for you, you should consult a professional. You should also consult a professional if you have not previously been participating in regular exercise before you commence a new program.

Not enough sunlight the cause of chronic pain?

Written by Michael Dermansky, Senior Physiotherapist at MD Health

As a physiotherapist, I was surprised to learn that some chronic pain, can be due to a vitamin D deficiency.There are several studies now showing that cases of chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can actually be a misdiagnosis of vitamin D deficiency.

Muscles have direct receptors that pick up and use vitamin D to function properly. Lack of vitamin D in muscle can lead to weakness and pain. This is reversed when people’s vitamin D levels are brought back to normal.

Surprisingly, a large number of Australians are Vitamin D deficient. In a Geelong based study, 43% of women were shown to be low in Vitamin D and 11% were shown to be deficient.Vitamin D comes mainly from sunlight, and a small amount from food, such as milk and oily fish. 10 minutes of direct sunlight between 10am and 3pm on one exposed area of the body, such as an arm or leg is enough to get your daily dose, however, most people do not do this.Long work days inside the office, if you have dark skin, wear concealing clothing and kids playing in front of the x-box instead of playing outside do not get enough sunlight to form vitamin D.

Australians generally eat less than half of their required dose of vitamin D from their foods.So the solution is simple, if you think you are at risk and suffer these symptoms, speak to your doctor. A simple blood test can determine your vitamin D levels and work out a supplementation routine to restore your vitamin D levels back to normal.