What’s your definition of strength and fitness? Is it how much weight you can bench press or how fast you can run a mile? Those modern measures of fitness may not help us as much as we think. How often do you need to bench press 200 pounds during the course of your day?
In terms of functional strength and fitness, my grandmother was stronger and fitter in her 80s than most of my younger patients today. Here are four reasons why:
The beautiful weather beckons outdoors. It’s the perfect time to start doing something good for your health. Get started now with these seven simple tips from Palo Alto Medical Foundation internist Linda W. Shiue, M.D.:
1. Limit your screen time to less than two hours a day. Being sedentary, as in spending time sitting in front of a TV or computer, is strongly linked to obesity and related diseases. If your job requires a lot of screen time, simply standing rather than sitting while doing those same activities will make a difference.
2. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, start slow. Consider signing up for a few personal training sessions at a gym. You’ll learn how to exercise safely and will gradually work up to your fitness goals.
3. Find a fitness buddy. You’ll keep each other motivated and honest, and it’s a positive and healthy way to spend time with friends.
4. Make it a family activity. At least once a week, take a family walk or hike, or bicycle together as a family. Here in the beautiful Bay Area, there are many trails right outside your door.
5. Mix it up. Boredom is the biggest enemy of maintaining an exercise regimen, so vary your exercise. Walk or jog on some days; take a yoga or spinning class on others.
6. Leave the car at home. If possible, try walking or biking to work, school or to run errands. It’s a good way to make exercise part of your normal daily routine without having to schedule extra time.
7. Track your steps. Getting an inexpensive pedometer (there’s a free app for that) can be a good way of making sure you reach your fitness goals. Aim for 10,000 steps a day.
Much as the family dinner is one of the best ways to stay connected with your kids, being active together as a family provides an equally powerful bonding experience with the added bonus of making sure everyone in the family is getting some healthy exercise. Know that the best possible way to encourage your child to exercise is to set a good example yourself – your child wants to do and be like you. Your level of activity will dictate how active he or she is now and will help your child establish healthy exercise habits for life.
My work as an oncology rehabilitation specialist at PAMF has allowed me to become a part of patient’s lives as they navigate the complicated journey through cancer treatment. I work with patients from their time of diagnosis, through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and beyond. Our department within the Cancer Care Center addresses important issues such as pain, musculoskeletal and neurological side effects of treatment and surgery, fatigue, and swelling. Our main objective is to work as a team with patients and their families to improve their quality of life and return patients to their pain free prior level of function.