As the cold sets in, we begin our hibernation period. The sun is becoming more of a rarity right alongside our drive to exercise and abstain from comfort food. Kansas City has many great features but outdoor winter activities are NOT one of them. How are we going to get through this season maintaining the physical gains we made this summer and start spring ready for pickleball, golf, and all the other fun outdoor activities?
Starting with the basics … what is necessary to preserve health and longevity and avoid the primary causes of death in the US: Heart Disease, Cancer, and Injuries, including falls?
To reduce the risk of heart disease, it's important to commit to at least three 60-minute Zone 2 cardio sessions per week. Zone 2 occurs when you raise your heart rate 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. A simple way to calculate your max heart rate is 220-your age. Staying within Zone 2 can be a challenge but studies show that too much time outside this zone causes damage to the lining of your arteries and can increase the risk of heart disease.
Cancer often develops and grows when the immune system fails to attack defective cells. Exercise is one of the most powerful tools to get your immune cells moving, and after exercise, these immune cells stay active in your body for up to 3 hours. I recommend engaging in 15 minutes of movement every 3 hours to keep your immune cells active. Stress reduction is another important key to your immunity. Try taking 3 deep breaths every hour, holding your breath at the peak of your inhale and at the bottom of the exhale.
You do NOT want to know the morbidity rate from falls. Let's just say, it's time to stand on one leg while you brush your teeth to enhance your balance. Stand on one leg for one minute on each side. If you are comfortable with that and want more of a challenge, try doing it with your eyes closed. Strong muscles support your joints, reducing the likelihood of falls or serious injuries from a fall. All our therapists are trained in exercise science and are experts in designing exercise programs tailored to your age, gender, sport, and individual needs. Treat yourself to programming or personal training with us this winter, and we can guide you on exactly what you should be doing in the gym.
By Julie Buttell