Let's Get Moving: Exercise is Key to Overall Physical Health!

Excerpted from the Life’s Work Physical Therapy blog, “Exercise and Well-Being,” http://www.lifesworkpt.com/2014/01/exercise-and-well-being/

GreenField Health has partnered with Life’s Work Physical Therapy (www.lifesworkpt.com) to offer PT services. Bryan Lang, BS, DPT, CSCS, treats patients Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 am to 5:45 pm at the Barnes Road office. To make an appointment, call 503-292-9560.

Exercise is far more than just for our general health and our healing process – it is also important for overall well-being and helps us live a balanced lifestyle. When we exercise, our body produces hormones called endorphins that react with receptors in our brains and create feelings of calmness and happiness. (This reaction has been termed “runner’s high,” a well-documented physiological condition that has been studied extensively.) These hormones also react with several pain receptors to produce a pain-reducing affect, without the side effects frequently associated with taking pain medications.

In addition to making you feel better—namely refreshed and invigorated—exercise will boost your metabolism, which allows you to burn more fuel throughout the day. This means that, in conjunction with a healthy diet, you can reduce the presence of fat cells (used as fuel), and improve muscular tone—both of which are associated with improved health and well-being.

Exercise has also been correlated with reducing several co-morbidities that may affect one’s ability to function and quality of life, such as reducing the risk of heart/cardiovascular disease (with improvement of heart rate and blood pressure); improving diabetes management; reducing the effects of hypothyroidism; and keeping bones and muscles strong over the long-term.

Exercise has often been studied as an outlet for stress and to help relieve “pent up” energy. It helps to turn around negative stress and replace it with positive stress. Exercise can be a time to focus on yourself, which frequently gets lost amongst the hustle and bustle of normal life. Reduced negative stress is directly correlated with improved well-being.

Finally, you don’t have to run a mile every day to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Just take a walk. Use the stairs. Go dancing, swimming or biking.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (i.e., walking the dog, playing hoops with your kids) 5 days a week and moderate-to-high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity 2 days a week. (For more ideas, go to http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp.)