Get Off the Treadmill

You know the type.

One of my patients – we’ll call her Elaine – gets up every morn­ing at 5:45 and hops on the tread­mill for a 45 minute pow­er walk before she shows up at her high-stress job run­ning the HR depart­ment of a large law firm.

Her con­sis­ten­cy and com­mit­ment to health are admirable. And she looks pret­ty trim for some­one of her age.

But repet­i­tive car­dio exer­cise isn’t enough. Elaine needs to get more cre­ative with her exer­cise reg­i­men. She’s miss­ing out on at least five of the ben­e­fits that reg­u­lar phys­i­cal activ­i­ty could bring her.

First – she’d get much more bang for her buck if she incor­po­rat­ed some intense inter­val train­ing into her dai­ly work­out. Instead of main­tain­ing a steady tread­mill pace, she needs to include some short, more intense bursts.

Sec­ond – aer­o­bic con­di­tion­ing isn’t enough. To main­tain a healthy weight as well as min­i­mize the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, you also need resis­tance train­ing to build mus­cle.

Third – you can also work your brain while you’re work­ing your body. Learn­ing new move­ment pat­terns – t’ai ch’i, tan­go, rac­quet­ball, etc. – is a cog­ni­tive chal­lenge the brain thrives on.

Fourth – exer­cise is also an oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op bet­ter body aware­ness. While you exer­cise and through­out your dai­ly life, pay atten­tion to your align­ment, breath­ing rhythm, pat­tern of abdom­i­nal sup­port, or the pres­ence of unnec­es­sary mus­cle ten­sion.

Fifth – exer­cise can also be a social expe­ri­ence. Take time to enjoy a hike with friends, a com­pet­i­tive game of ten­nis, an evening of bowl­ing, or what­ev­er you enjoy.

We can all admire Elaine for her ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment. But to enjoy the wider ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty — get off the tread­mill.

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About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website, askdrlavine.com, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at drlavine@yourbodyofknowledge.com or at 212-400-9663.

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