The Current Standing of Physical Activity

by Tia Dewick in Training

Did you know that physical activity has been identified as one of the top 3 lifestyle choices that positively contribute to good health?
We all know that smoking and alcohol are bad for our health but yet a large portion of society continues to participate in these unhealthy lifestyle choices. This concept is relatively similar to physical activity; we all know it’s good for our health but a large portion of society does not take up physical activity within their weekly routines. Research has stated that if physical activity was a drug it would be considered a wonder drug and it would be considered as malpractice not to prescribe it. With this in mind, why is it not currently so easily accessible to everyone?

What needs to be done?
Despite these findings that physical activity is highly effective as both a preventative and treatment for multiple chronic risk factors/diseases; it’s not yet available within the healthcare unless it is required as a treatment tool. But why is it not already available within the healthcare as a preventative to MANY illnesses. Currently, campaigns are in place to try and get the government to change their structure of healthcare to enable equality for accessibility and to improve the health of the nation!

Is occupational physical activity enough?
The typical 9-5 physical occupation workers (i.e. builders, cleaners, farmers etc) fall into the belief that they are doing enough physical activity at work to not need to participate in further activities. But is this true? There are pros and cons to having a physically active job but we must consider heart rate. Good cardiovascular fitness is linked to good health; but in order to improve our cardiovascular fitness we need to train at a heart rate of 60-80% of our maximal capacity (maximum heart rate is calculated via the equation 220 minus your age). However, occupational physical activity does not allow us to achieve these optimal domains for heart rate.

Help, I just don’t enjoy physical activity but I love the feeling I get afterwards
With physical activity there are so many modes in which you can undertake. One of the most important factors to consider is that exercise isn’t just beneficial for your physical health, it’s also crucial for your mental health. Some research suggests that for mental health benefits, intensity alone isn’t necessarily influential. If we consider duration and intensity together, perhaps you may begin to enjoy it. Do you hate sprinting on the treadmill? Yeah, me too! However, if you were to consider a 10 minute sprint vs. a 30 minute walk with your friends/family, the combination of social interaction and lower intensity can make the experience much more enjoyable. Everyone is unique so if you trial and error a few different modes of exercise, you might find that you love one but hate another. Try something new today!