“There is a concept of use it or lose it that come into play with decreased activity…”

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Ben Kim and WDWS radio host, Scott Beatty discuss tips on how to stay active during the winter and the consequences of long-term decreased activity.

 Click below to listen to the segment!

    “There is a concept of use it or lose it that come into play with decreased activity…”

    Doctor of Physical Therapy, Ben Kim and WDWS radio host, Scott Beatty discuss tips on how to stay active during the winter and the consequences of long-term decreased activity.

    1. What can we do to stay active during these times with the cold weather and COVID-19 gym restrictions?

    The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days of week (2.5 hours total for the week) of moderate intensity exercise in addition to 2 times a week of resistance exercises.

    2. How do we know if the activity is too intense or not intense enough?

    The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity.

    In general, if you are performing a moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing during the activity. If you are doing a vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. 

    3. What are some ways people can stay active as the weather is getting colder and being outside may become more difficult?

    • Schedule: Scheduling specific times to exercise will be very important as being home can make it challenging for some people who are used to going to the gym or outside. 
    • Routine: There are hundreds of exercise resources available online that can be very helpful.  Finding an exercise routine/class/coach online that provides the appropriate intensity for you will be important, but trying different ones out to find what’s right for you will be helpful.

     Enjoyable: Try to find a way to make it enjoyable. At my house, my wife and I try to incorporate the kids (I have a 1 and 3 year old) and we make it a time where our family can exercise together (For the kids it’s extra screen time and a they have fun imitating us). 

    • Virtual Personal Training: If you have the means, there are personal trainers who provide virtual personal training who are excellent and can tailor a program that fits your needs with the equipment you have at home.

    4. What are some consequences for long-term decreased activity?

    • The danger of decreased activity can range from muscle atrophy, decreased strength, balance, cardiovascular health, mental health, and development of pain. 
    • As much as the body adapts positively to movement exercise, it does the complete opposite for decreased movement/loading.  The result is a decreased tolerance to specific movements, thus when you try to perform activities that you once were able to perform it is much more difficult or even can lead to injury.  There is a concept of use it or lose it that come in play with decreased activity, thus it’s important to be extra intentional about movement and exercise when we are recommended to stay at home.

      Benjamin Kim, PT, DPT  is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy and Physical Therapy Coordinator at Mettler Center. 

      Call 217-398-9800 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a physical therapist.