Exercise for Optimal Health

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Fitness for Life

At Midwest Physical Therapy we know the importance as well as the challenge of adopting exercise into our lifestyles. That is why we would like to provide you with this information containing some guidelines and steps toward a lifetime of fitness. We hope that this will help you achieve your personal goals.

Aerobic Activity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine adults should strive to exercise at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most if not all days of the week. There are many health benefits associated with exercise including a decreased risk of chronic diseases, decreased morbidity and mortality, decreased anxiety and depression and enhanced physical function and quality of life.

Aerobic Exercise enhances our heart’s ability to deliver oxygen to our body’s cells. This oxygen helps in making energy for our cells to perform optimally.
Remember that more is not always better. A more aggressive workout program increases your risk of injury. You will be able to achieve health benefits with a lower intensity, longer timed program. Aerobic exercise should be performed 3-5 times per week, for 20-60 minutes at 77-90% of max heart rate (see equation).

You can also use the “talk test” to help determine if you have reached your target zone. You should experience any of the following:

  1. Slightly short of breath, but not out of breath.
  2. Able to talk without difficulty, but unable to sing a song.
  3. Pleasantly fatigued, but not exhausted.
  4. Have mild musculoskeletal discomfort, but not pain.
Ways to Burn 150 to 200 Calories:

  • Mowing for 30 to 45 min
  • Washing windows or floors for 45 to 60 min
  • Domestic housework for 35 to 45 min
  • Golfing without the cart for 35 to 45 min
  • Gardening for 30 to 45 min
  • Walking 3mph for 30 to 40 min
  • Bicycling 10mph for 30 to 40 min
  • Dancing fast for 30 to 40 min
  • Playing basketball for 15 to 25 min
  • Jumping rope for 15 to 20 min
  • Stair walking for 15 to 20 min
  • Running 6mph for 15 to 20 min


Flexibility may start to decrease as early as your 3rd decade in life. Incorporating stretching into your program will ensure maintenance of your range of motion needed to perform your daily activities and decrease your risk for injury. It is important to stretch to your end range, but never in pain. Hold any stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Resistance Training

Remember that it is very important to maintain good form and posture when strength training. You also need to make sure you continue to breathe normally throughout the motion. It is best to work on strengthening every other day.

Benefits associated with this include maintaining and increasing bone density, decreasing blood pressure and body fat, preventing low back pain, and decreasing limitations in your every day activities.

For more information on exercise and health, visit Healthy People’s website.