Physical activity recommendations
I just want to start with a disclaimer that I am not an Exercise Physiologist (EP), but that I have spoken to several and have been using them for years. Plus, being a person living with Spina Bifida, I have an awareness of proper exercise form. Therefore, the below is intended for general information only. If you require more tailored advice, I encourage you to contact your local EP.
The Department of Health’s currently physical activity guidelines state that any exercise is better than none, and to start slowly and try to be active most days of the week. Their specific guidelines on the amount of time spent exercising is to aim for is 150 – 300 minutes (2.5-5 hour) a week of moderate intensity exercise, or half that of vigorous exercise. And, include at least 2 sessions of strength-based training into your weekly regime.
When you break down these recommendations, 150 minutes is 30 minutes 5 days a week, and depending upon your goals, you can work out windows in your weekly schedule were you are able to fit in your chosen exercise, depending upon your goals and lifestyle.
If you are finding it hard to fit in your exercise, you can split it up, for example, if 30 minutes a day is unmanageable, do three lots of ten minutes. The main idea to be mindful of is that when it comes to cardio you want to raise your heartbeat but still be able to hold a conversation. And, when it comes to strength-based exercise, you want to be maintaining good form, but tiring during the last few repetitions.
Another way to increase your exercise is to increase your “incidental exercise” activity throughout the day. What this means is to add exercise to your daily routine, and could be parking a block away from work, walking around the park during your lunch break, taking cans from the pantry and doing some bicep curls while you wait for the kettle to boil, or doing some squats while on the telephone.
Penelope Espinoza Hallett, Naturopath
BHsc (C.M.) AdvDip. Nat/N.D, Dip. Aroma, Dip. C.H., Cert. R.M., Cert. R.M., Cert. SBM, mNHAA