MOVEMENT

Movement or physical activity is one of the basic functions of the body. Any motion that you do –  walking, running, jumping – even lying or sitting down, entails movement and is considered physical activity. Movement requires the use of energy and may involve any physical activity across different intensities. 

 

Intensity may vary from a simple slight twitch of a finger to a more intense high velocity sport such as running. Sitting down is also considered a movement, but sedentary in nature. Walking slowly or washing the dishes may be categorized as light physical activity. Moderate physical activity may involve fast walking, leisure swimming, or climbing a flight of stairs. Vigorous physical activity may involve the fast moving type of sports such as cycling, spinning, or running a marathon.

 

Movement or physical activity can be done in a structured manner with the purpose of improving one’s health. Brisk walking, cycling or spinning, engaging in sports or exercise, whether low or high intensity, would significantly help in boosting physical and mental wellness. Good physical health considerably avoids “lifestyle diseases”, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and stroke, to name a few. 

 

Movement or physical activity is recommended by health experts across different age or population groups. For example, for children below the age of 5 years, infants are encouraged to be in a prone position or on their tummies for at least 30 minutes daily. For toddlers and school-aged children, play activities should be done at least an hour each day. 

 

For older children and adolescents (ages 5-17 years), at least an hour of moderate to vigorous exercises three times a week is encouraged. For adults from 18 years of age, aerobic activities or exercises lasting from 75 to 150 minutes at least 2 or more days per week are ideal to help in muscle building and gaining other additional health benefits. For those pregnant, with disabilities, or are elderly, regular aerobic exercises at least 60 to 150 minutes per day will help in strength building and enhancing functional capabilities.

 

Benefits of doing regular movements or physical activities to one’s health are abundant. Regular physical activities or exercises help in the following:

 

  • Improving cardiovascular and respiratory fitness

  • Improving bone health and range of motion

  • Reducing risks of diseases such as stroke, hypertension, diabetes, cancers, and heart diseases

  • Maintaining an individual’s ideal body weight and avoid obesity

  • Improving mental health and reduce risk of depression and Alzheimer’s disease

  • Improving cognitive health and mental sharpness

  • Improving on sleep

  • Reducing pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and hypertension, childbirth and newborn complications, and postpartum depression in pregnant women

 

However, engaging in regular physical activities have proven to be challenging during these times. People have become increasingly sedentary, due to various increasing use of technology. Thus, health issues and mortality have increased as well, including obesity, weight gain and poor sleep. Around a quarter of the world’s population are categorized as sedentary, mostly those living in developed nations. Many people are not meeting the daily recommended hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity, thus resulting in poor physical fitness.

 

There are many ways to increase physical activity and movement. An individual can plan in maintaining and following a daily schedule of physical activities, such as:

 

  • For short distance destinations, walking or using a bicycle to and from instead of taking a motorized transport

  • Taking time off from desk work by doing “desk exercises” to balance long hours of sitting time

  • Setting at least 60 minutes or more per day for aerobic exercises, by using exercises machines or going outside of the house doing brisk walking, jogging, or biking

  • Allow children enough time for play, such as playing ball or in a playground

  • Engage in various sports that are fast-moving and high intensity, such as basketball, tennis, badminton, swimming, and even dancing

  • Do strengthening exercises such as weight lifting, squats, lunging, and press ups.

  • Perform chores in the houses, such as cleaning, doing the laundry, cutting the grass, sweeping the floor, raking leaves 

  • Taking a walk in the woods, along the beach, or in a cityscape

 

It is thus proven by medical and health experts how movement and regular physical activity can improve one’s overall health and well-being, may it be physical, mental and emotional. Benefitting from it would greatly reduce risks of chronic diseases, obesity, and lifestyle illnesses. Being physically active extends its good effects on mental health, as physical activities produce endorphins or “happy hormones”. 

 

Regular physical activity strengthens and enhances flexibility of the body. It stimulates smooth range of motion of the joints, as well as adequate stretching of the muscles. It enables effortless motion and ensures full physical function that supports daily routine activities. Medical experts attest how regular physical activities can prevent illnesses, strengthen immunity, and address pains and discomforts before these worsen. 

 

Arise Physical Therapy makes use of movements as part of physical therapy exercise. Send us a message today for more information.