Aim2Walk’s best (and only) Kinesiologist, Charlotte, returns to the blogosphere with this entry on Physical Activity Guidelines for all of us. I hope you get a sense of her enthusiasm as you read this post…if you think she used a lot of exclamation points, it’s because she loves this stuff! Enjoy!
We all know that physical activity is good for us – it increases our fitness, strength, energy levels, and helps improve quality of life. But do you really know how much physical activity you should be getting? The average person generally knows a little bit about how to get active but a lot of people assume it has to be at a gym, lifting weights. According to CSEP, physical activity is any “movement that increases heart rate and breathing” or “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure”. Essentially, performing physical activity can be as easy as going out for a walk with your dog or taking the kids to the park! Awesome, right?? Now that you know you don’t have to be a gym rat to stay physically active, I present to you the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, with recommendations for all age groups and example activities that are easy to complete throughout the day! Now go get active!
I know that a lot of you reading this may have experienced some kind of neurological injury and you’re thinking what the heck, she forgot about us! But don’t be silly, of course I didn’t forget about you! I have searched high and low on the lovely internet and found physical activity guidelines for people post stroke AND post spinal cord injury! Cool right? Physical activity has numerous benefits, some of which I mentioned before but for people who have had a stroke or spinal cord injury, the benefits are even more widespread. Physical activity has the power to decrease pain, reduce the risk of depression and stress, lower the risk of developing chronic diseases, and increase social interaction!
Spinal Cord Injuries – SCI Action Canada is a program based out of McMaster University (the best) that has created physical activity guidelines for people living with spinal cord injuries. This program wants to help increase independence among those living with spinal cord injuries and promote health for all populations. The guidelines suggest:
– At least 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity at least twice a week
– Resistance training at least twice a week, with 3 sets of 8-10 exercises that work all the major muscle groups
This program has also created the SCI Get Fit Toolkit, which provides readers with the information needed to start getting active! For more details on the physical activity guidelines and the SCI Get Fit Toolkit, visit the following links and enjoy!
Stroke – Following a stroke, everyone has differences in their functional ability, so remember that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to physical activity. Do what you can, but try to be active everyday! The guidelines recommend 4 different types of activity that should be performed post stroke, they include:
- Aerobic Activities – At least 3 times a week, for at least 20 minutes each time; can be done in 10 minute segments at a time for the same benefit.
- Strength Training – 2-3 days a week. With 1-3 sets of at least 10 exercises that reach all the major muscle groups
- Flexibility Training – At least 2-3 days a week, generally before or after any of the other activities
- Coordination and Balance Training – At least 2-3 days a week, performed on the same day as strength training
For a more detailed description of the guidelines, click here.
For more information on how to get active after a stroke, click here.
If anyone is now wondering “where can I do these activities?”, or “I need a place to help me do my strength training!” Well luckily for you, the new Neurochangers facility will be opening soon and will be fully equipped with accessible weight machines and exercise equipment! AWESOME! I hope you find these links helpful and not too much information all at once! Just remember, 5 minutes of physical activity a day is better than 0 minutes a day!