On our initial consultation with our patients, we ask the question “When did you start to gain weight, excess weight?” They most common answer is initially during college, sedentary job and getting married because of the lack of exercise. Yes, there are many other reasons we can go into and weight is multifactorial, but, what if we just focus on movement right now. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG) has been released again. Unfortunately, 80% of Americans are not moving adequately. We need to also remind them that 80% of weight loss is caloric reduction. We can’t out run a poor diet.
Strong evidence exists that regular physical activity can benefit all patients and the benefits can occur immediately. It can appear as better cardiovascular tolerance, mood, fitness, strength and cognition to name a few. We need to include the young, those with chronic conditions and pregnant patients. Movement is not just for the healthy adult or one seeking health.
As healthcare providers we need to encourage patients to move throughout the day, especially if they have a sedentary job. We also need to take that advice! Working out and then having a sedentary job can actually negate some of the benefits of the exercise.
In our practice we typically encourage our patients to:
- take phone calls standing up (ergonomic changes)
- take the stairs
- get up and stretch throughout their day
- park further away
- make multiple trips to do chores in order to increase steps
Activity can be cumulative throughout the day as well. The PAG recommended types and amounts of physical activity to improve a variety of health outcomes for each population group. Finding activities that are enjoyable is also encouraged. It does not have to be running, walking, biking or hiking. Exercise can be balance training, pilates, yoga, bootcamp, tai chi and so much more.