Too few Americans get the recommended amount of physical activity. There are limitless reasons in a day to forego physical activity, but this comes with a cost. Inactivity contributes to 10% of premature deaths, and inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual healthcare costs. Many people would be surprised to learn that 71% of young people do not meet physical fitness requirements to join the military if they wanted to.2,3,5
There are myriad benefits to regular exercise including lowering the risk of stroke, coronary artery disease, early death, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Routine physical activity also prevents weight gain, promotes weight loss, improved cardiorespiratory fitness, improved memory and cognition, prevents falls, and reduces depression.2,3
A peer review for the World Health Organization revealed that interventions with a total weekly dose of 3+ hours that included balance and functional exercises was most effective at preventing falls (42% reduction) compared to a group with no prescribed exercise.6
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, a specific exercise strategy for treatment of chronic shoulder pain is effective at improving shoulder function and reducing pain. This strategy reduces the need for surgery as well. Focused strength training programs have also shown to improve other tendinoses including Achilles and patellar tendon pain/injury.4
Even in the case of elective or inevitable surgeries, such as total knee or hip replacements, exercise has significant benefits. Participation in a fitness prescription such as physical therapy prior to surgery, “prehabilitation,” can reduce the need for postoperative care by nearly 30% saving an average of $1215 per patient in a skilled nursing facility, home health agency or other postoperative care.1 The cost of such postoperative care or agencies has dramatically increased in recent decades and with the aging population of the US, the need for orthopedic surgeries has as well.
The Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends children aged 3-5 should be physically active throughout the day to stimulate growthand development. Children and adolescents 6-17 should do 60 min+ of moderate to vigorous activity daily in addition to strength training 2 days a week. It’s recommended adults take part in 150 min of moderate to vigorous activity a week with 2 days of strength training. If you only have 5-10 min at a time, it pays to do what you can when you can, it will add up!
Investing in your physical wellness on a daily basis will ultimately reduce time and money spent in the future, i.e. time in physicians’ offices, time away from work due to injury, money spent on treatment and postoperative care.
If you have any questions regarding why, how, or when you can begin an exercise program, contact Wickenburg Community Hospital Rehab (928-684-5529) to schedule an evaluation and obtain a personalized regime focusing on your specific concerns.