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In the Know with Texas Physical Therapy Specialists

When we talk about the importance of being active and how movement can have a positive effect on our wellbeing in the long run, physical therapy comes to mind for several reasons. Not just because it’s practically in our name as movement specialists, but because it is also one of the most powerful prescriptions out there with almost no side effects.

The American College of Sports Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization all recommend we perform at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity weekly or two times a week of strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups. That is less than 25 minutes a day!

What does moderate intensity really mean? For those who don’t live by their Apple watch vitals and color codes, a simple example is if you took a brisk walk and go fast enough that you can barely carry on a conversation as your breathing takes more focus. This means there needs to be continuous movement to attain benefits. By maintaining the appropriate activity and movement recommendations, you decrease weight, medication usage, improve sleep, motility, mental focus, and health.

Moderate intensity exercises also lower your risk of chronic pain and falls. There is solid research in the pain science world on how activity and exercise improve pain thresholds and thus reduce medication usage and chronic pain. Did you know our brains produce our own pain meds? One of the most powerful medicine cabinets is right between your ears. And these medications don’t have any side effects either. The runner’s high is a prime example of this in action.

Sleep and motility are two areas not always associated with exercise but are directly related. Exerting enough energy during the day helps us maintain our circadian rhythm and healthy sleep patterns, which in turn help with our mental state and focus and that pain threshold I mentioned earlier. Ever wonder why yourself or others go to the restroom after a walk? Or why hospitals make people walk post-surgery or with an illness that allows walking? These motions help kick-start the appropriate systems to begin filtering as our body’s metabolism elevates due to energy needs of the musculoskeletal system.
This also helps us minimize our risk of falling over time, as over a third of people over 65 fall each year with 20-30 percent of those resulting in serious injury. The less you move over time starting before age 40, the more your body loses its awareness in space. Little things like rugs, home thresholds become monsters. Even getting out of a chair becomes a bigger challenge. Your joints stiffen and your vascular system becomes more taxed and can result in dizziness that makes you more prone to falling, so being aware and proactive can help.

Medical providers such as physical therapists are more than qualified to help guide you. We understand how pain works, the interaction of all our internal systems working together, balance strategies and the musculoskeletal deficits that can inhibit our movement needs. Whether you are wanting tips on how to prevent falls, needing help in finding the starting point to improve your movement abilities as pain has turned you off from movement in the past, we at Texas Physical Therapy Specialists, are here to help you achieve your goals. We might even have some fun along the way as we work towards incorporating more movement and achieving a healthier lifestyle together!