Every day our primary care physicians advise aging populations to get adequate exercise. Well, that’s our hope at least. However, this may not always be the case. Whatever you wish to be the cause… Maybe it’s the lack of time spent with patients due to reimbursement structures, the neglect to understand exercise recommendations or guidelines, or the push for pharmaceuticals over holistic approaches. Whatever the case, there must be a change.
When there lies a void between physician and exercise prescription it creates a true void in our healthcare system. The most common occurrence… prescribe one foot in front of the other over and over and over and over again. Yes, we are referring to the easiest cop-out, walking.
Prior to beginning with our LiveWell team, we prefer for individuals and families to sit down with a member of our staff. We use this as an opportunity to ask anything under the sun, as does the family. In many instances, we are asked help bust the typical myths within the exercise world. We also like to understand what, if any, sort of exercise the individual is completing at the time.
“Well, I walk to the mailbox each day”
“I go up and down the stairs throughout the day”
“I make sure to park a bit further away when I go to the supermarket”
“I try to go for a walk twice each week”
Over the years walking has been accepted as adequate exercise, more recently the standards have been adjusted. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults, of all ages, receive 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity and two days of muscle strengthening activity. Making a two weekly walks a great starting point!
Now, in order to receive the benefits often read about, one must ensure they are moving at an adequate pace. When researching walking as a form of exercise, brisk walking is a term that comes along. Brisk walking refers to moving at a pace of about 100 steps per minute, which equates to 3-4 miles per hour. So how much walking is enough?
At 3 mph, it would require a 20-minute exercise session to complete one mile. According to the American College of Sports Medicine an adult should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity and two days of muscle strengthening activity. Therefore, one must accumulate 7.5 miles, all of which at 3 mph. Or, based on the above an individual would need to:
At the end of the day, sure there are ways in which walking can be great exercise. However, the happy, go lucky walk that many perceive as exercise may not be adequate based on the standards set forth by the ACSM. If walking is your preferred mode of exercise, have at it, but make sure you are abiding by the proper intensities.
All things aside, any sort of exercise is great! We simply feel there are more efficient, and effective ways to ensure health and happiness. Methods that not only account for recommended 150 minutes, but also include muscle strengthening to preserve muscle mass, bone health, posture, and overall strength.