Recently, one of my elderly patients came into the clinic and told me that if she knew she was going to live to be this age, she would have done a lot of things differently regarding her health.
It was very interesting listening to her, because she explained to me how important her health is to her now.
Usually, I am the one telling my patients how important their health is and not the other way around.
She told me that if she had to do it again, her health would be her top priority.
Eating healthy, exercising and taking better care of herself in general would have made her life more enjoyable now.
Unfortunately, we have become a society that lives in the present and is not overly concerned about the future.
This also holds true when it comes to our health.
Many people do not realize that what they do today will directly affect who they are in the future.
So let’s start taking care of ourselves today and not put it off until tomorrow!
After reading last month’s article you hopefully understand the importance of stretching and how to stretch properly.
This month, we are going to take it one step further and focus on exercise.
By the end of this column, you will have a better understanding, about the what and whys of exercise.
Everyone knows that exercise is very important.
However, there are many benefits of exercising that you may not be aware of.
These benefits include increased bone density, increased strength, reduced stress levels, decreased blood pressure, and improved psychological well-being, decreased cholesterol, as well as a reduction in your risk of developing diabetes and many other diseases.
Exercising encompasses all types of physical activity.
Whether you are walking, running, bicycling, chopping wood, lifting weights or doing a physical job, it can all be classified as exercise.
Exercising can be generally separated into two types, strength and cardiovascular training.
Strength training focuses on building muscular strength. Resistance/stress (ie. weights) is needed to increase your strength.
Without overloading your muscles, they will not get any stronger than they already are.
Many of the problems that are seen in truckers are due to weak muscles.
Back, neck and abdominal muscles should be regularly strengthened in order to prevent work-related injuries.
Now let’s talk about the cardiovascular system for a minute. The cardiovascular or CV system is responsible for oxygenating your blood and the circulation of blood through your lungs and heart. Cardiovascular training involves improving the function of your heart and lungs.
Your heart is responsible for pushing the blood throughout the body and your lungs are responsible for putting oxygen into your blood.
A good measure to see how in “shape” your heart is, is by calculating how many times your heart beats in a minute.
For most people, their normal resting heart rate is between, 72-80 beats per minutes. The higher this number is, the harder your heart is working.
The lower the number is the more efficient your heart is working.
On average elite athletes’ resting heart rate is between 50-60 beats per minute, depending on the sport he or she participates in.
Any activity that increases your heart rate and is sustained for a minimum of 20 minutes continually (without stopping) is exercising the cardiovascular system. Walking, biking, roller blading and swimming are a couple of examples.
However, only when the heart is required to pump a lot of blood is it actually strengthened.
Remember how I mentioned before that muscles need to be “pushed hard” before they will grow?
The heart is no different, since it is basically one large muscle.
Therefore, it is important to slowly increase the intensity of your exercises in order to challenge the health and CV system.
Next month we will learn the basic principles of exercising. I will give you some ideas about getting into shape, while you are on the road.
However, before you start any exercise program you should consult with your health care professional. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail or call me.
Until next month, drive safely!
– Dr. Christopher Singh, B. Kin., D.C., runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached at 888-252-7327, or email TCC@transcanadachiropractic.com