Exercise & Fitness

  • “More exercise may not necessarily be better.  Running faster and farther isn't necessarily better.  There is a tipping point after which exercise does not become as beneficial in terms of mortality.   A new study in the journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that light joggers may outlive more intense runners.  The study said that the benefits for moderate joggers is substantial.  The study showed that light joggers had a reduced mortality of about 78%; moderate joggers reduced the mortality by about  34%; and strenuous joggers actually had the same mortality as a sedentary non-jogger.
“The best prescription for light jogging was a slow and steady pace at about 5 mph, exercising 2-3 times per week, for 1 - 2 1/2 hours per week, which is healthier than jogging much harder.  Intense, fast running can shorten your life to the same mortality as a sedentary non-jogger.
“Exercise does wonders for us in terms of blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.  However, when you perform exercise to extreme levels, the theory is that you are potentially causing structural or ultra-structural damage to the heart.  You are causing possible side effects which change the loading conditions on the heart, so the function may be reduced.  There is increased blood volume to the heart, less efficient pumping of blood, thickening of cardiac tissue, arrhythmia, and damage to the arteries which may form earlier calcification or stiffening.      "Slow and Steady," Dr. Tara Narula, Cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, CBS This Morning, February 3, 2015
  • Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the physical and psychological  benefits of exercise can help improve mood and reduce anxiety.  Exercise also helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis.  (Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms, Mayo Clinic, Sept. 27, 2017) 

Statistics
  • One in three Americans are currently deemed obese, and 2/3 of American adults are overweight.  Among children ages 6 to 11, about 19% are overweight.  

What You Can Do
  • Encourage your family to start a physical fitness routine.  Enjoy a variety of physical activities, such as gardening, walking, biking, swimming, sports…
  • Teach children to exercise—jumping, stretching, catching, lifting.  Children who enjoy exercise when young will more likely stay active throughout their lives.  
  • Walk for exercise, and clean the environment.  Take gloves and a bag as you walk, and pick up litter in your neighborhood, park, school grounds, or along a trail.  
  • “Walking and Hiking in Spokane County” is a brochure available at any local library.  This hiking map details 8 scenic routes, city parks and trails, and calculates the distance and time, steps, and calories burned for each route.  To learn more, download this map and learn about other scenic or historic trails and parks. http://srhd.org/topics/walkingmaps.asp
  • Organize a run, walk or race to support an important cause or charity.    
  • Promote neighborhood games.  Set up a basketball hoop, but do NOT place it next to the street and facing the street.  That is illegal, because it makes the County liable for injuries which occur while playing basketball on county-owned property.  
  • Organize a “Bowl for Charity.”  There are more than 100 bowling leagues in Spokane County.  
  • Remember – When driving to a park or trail to exercise, secure your valuables (wallets, purses, and other items which are easily pawned) in the trunk of your car, or leave them home. Thieves prowl these areas.  Also, check out the parking area for potential suspects who are seated in a vehicle and do not appear to be intent on using the trail.  Simple eye contact, and obviously noting the license plate number and vehicle description, may persuade would-be prowlers to move on to some other locale.  
  • Teach children swimming and water safety, an enjoyable exercise and life skill.  Help keep your kids safe in the water with properly fitting life jackets.  Look for a “USCG Approved” (U.S. Coast Guard) life jacket.  To check the fit, place the jacket on a child, and pick up the child by the shoulders of the jacket.  The child’s ears and chin should not slip through the jacket.  Remember—water wings are no substitute for a life jacket.  They create a false sense of security, and can actually increase the chance of children drowning.  (Dr. Tami Simmerman, Valley Young People’s Clinic)  
  • Gardening.  Plant and work in a garden for exercise and healthy eating.  
  • Volunteer to teach an exercise class.  Physical fitness experts can lead exercise classes in community centers.  
  • Purchase a pedometer to encourage you to exercise every day.  Research shows that pedometer users increase their physical activity by about 27%, walking about one more mile a day than they did before they started their step-counting routines.  Walking can contribute to weight loss and lowering of blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. 

    Pedometers, also called step counters, clip to your belt or waistband and count the steps you take during the day.  By recording the number of steps you have taken at the end of each day, you can set goals for yourself and monitor your own progress.  Pedometers range in price from $5 to $60; however, simple, reliable models cost around $20. 

  • Exercise and Depression. 

    Get moving to help manage depression and stress.  Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.  Most people know that exercise does your body good, but feel they are too busy and stressed to fit it into their routine. Hold on a second — there's good news when it comes to exercise and stress.

    Virtually any form of exercise,
    from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you're not an athlete or even if you're out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.

    • Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

    • Exercise pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner's high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.

    • It is meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you'll often find that you've forgotten the day's irritations and concentrated only on your body's movements.

      As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions
      through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.

      Exercise will improve your mood. 
      Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.   (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016)

  • One in 10 adults in the United States struggles with depression.  Research shows that exercise is an effective treatment. "For some people it works as well as antidepressants, although exercise alone isn't enough for someone with severe depression," says Dr. -Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.   

    The challenge of getting started.  Depression manifests physically by causing disturbed sleep, reduced energy, appetite changes, body aches, and increased pain perception, all of which can result in less motivation to exercise. It's a hard cycle to break, but Dr. Miller says getting up and moving just a little bit will help. "Start with five minutes a day of walking or any activity you enjoy. Soon, five minutes of activity will become 10, and 10 will become 15."

    You should begin to feel better
    a few weeks after you begin exercising. But this is a long-term treatment, not a onetime fix. "Pick something you can sustain over time," advises Dr. Miller. "The key is to make it something you like and something that you'll want to keep doing."  (Source:  Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression,” published Aug. 2013, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School)
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

American Heart Association
Heart Walk in May, 536-1500      

Friends of the Centennial Trail

624-7188  

Kid Sports. 
Indoor sport facility with professionally designed curriculum
to develop motor skills, promote physical fitness, and create self confidence.  A fun, non-competitive environment.   534-5437  
http://kidsportsspokane.com 

Out There Monthly
The Inland Northwest Guide to Outdoor Recreation
http://www.outtheremonthly.com