One of the most common excuses for exercise I hear is “I don’t have the time!”. I use that excuse myself sometimes and some days it is hard to drag myself away from the couch and get myself moving.
Unfortunately, as we get older, the risk of osteoarthritis and disability slowly increases and it may become more painful to move around. This can lead to a downward spiral of inactivity, promoting the advancement of disability and eventually you might need to use a walking stick or frame. Thankfully, exercise has preventative and restorative properties to it, such as; improved bone density, reducing blood pressure, improved BMI, lower cholesterol, and a heap of other “good stuff”.
How much exercise do I need to do in a week to prevent this?
The Australian minimal recommended dosage is to be active on most, preferably all, days of the week. Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week. This can be daunting to someone experiencing pain or leading a sedentary life.
A recently published research article by Dunlop, D. et al. looked into what the absolute minimum level would be to notice positive changes. They found that doing 55-56 minutes of moderate intensity over the course of the week best predicted ongoing disability-free status! Now of course, doing more (attaining the guidelines) has better outcomes but this article gives us a starting point. We all start somewhere! All it takes is an hour a week and we can be on the journey to a more active lifestyle. So put on those shoes and go for a short walk, I am pretty confident we all can find one hour in our week to get moving!
- Dunlop DD, Song J, Hootman JM, et al. One hour a week: moving to prevent disability in adults with lower extremity joint symptoms. Am J Prev Med. 2019;56(5):664-672.