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  • Jacob Reynolds PT, DPT

Hygienic Exercise

If you have read any of my recent blogs you have read discussion on the topics of consistency and habit formation. I want to stay in the same vein in today’s discussion of what I call “hygiene exercises.”


I often employ the analogy of oral hygiene when discussing the importance of habitual exercise habits. We all understand the need for and the practice of good oral hygiene, and most of us tend to follow strict oral hygiene routines. We floss and brush our teeth twice a day (hopefully), we have routine teeth cleanings with our dentist, we purchase nighttime appliances to protect our teeth, and subject our teens to months or sometimes years of orthodontic treatments to ensure perfect occlusion.


We spend roughly 45 minutes per week taking care of our teeth, which equates to nearly 3,000 hours of dental care in the lifetime of the average American. And yet only 21% of Americans meet the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines of 150 minutes a week of light to moderate cardiovascular exercise, which has been shown to reduce risk factors for preventable disease.


This is an issue! A big one! For some reason we have deprioritized exercise, but this is not without consequence.

The law of entropy states that a system left unto itself will lean toward disarray unless acted upon by an outside force. In this circumstance, the “system” is our body and the “outside force” is exercise. Exercise is the force that keeps our body performing optimally. The best part about exercise is that there are no non-responders to it!

How wonderful! It does not matter how old, how deconditioned, how unathletic, or how inexperienced we are; if we exercise, our body will respond in a positive manner!


Now, imagine if you did just 15 minutes of intentional exercise a day. You will have exercised almost 100 hours in a year. The compounding effect of 15 minutes a day is massive. This is truly a small price to pay for such a massive payout.


Having trouble figuring out where to start? Try the routine below!

3 rounds of:

  • 1×5 pushups 30 second rest

  • 1×10 squats 30 second rest

  • 1×15 bridges 30 second rest

  • 1×20 crunches 30 second rest


It’s time to start practicing some exercise hygiene!


References:

There are no non-responders to exercise:

Churchward-Venne TA, et al.There Are No Nonresponders to Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Older Men and Women. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2015 May 1;16(5):400-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2015.01.071. Epub 2015 Feb 21.

Strength association to mortality:

Ruiz Jonatan R, et al. Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study. BMJ 2008; 337 :a4

Skeletal muscle mass association to disability:

Janssen I,  Heymsfield SB,  Ross R. Low Relative Skeletal Muscle Mass (Sarcopenia) in Older Persons Is Associated with Functional Impairment and Physical Disability. J Am Geriatr Soc: 2002 May; 50(5): 889-896.