Jess Douglas, DPT
Marcus Daly Rehabilitation Center and Services
A Service of Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital
1200 Westwood Drive
Hamilton, MT 59840
Spring back into the outdoors!
After a long winter we are now seeing more of the sun again and enjoying
warmer temperatures. If you have been thinking about getting back outside
and returning to your normal summer exercise routine I commend you, as
this transition can often be daunting. If all of your aches and pains
from the busy 2015 summer have resolved, you may be transitioning from
a relatively inactive winter, to the "on the go" activity level
of summertime which can be a rewarding experience. If you have nagging
injuries from the previous season, now is the time to focus on your health
so when the nice weather hits you are feeling 100%. By following a few
specific tips you can make this seasonal transition safer, easier, and
increase the chance of meeting your goals.
One essential thing to remember when increasing your activity level is
to know what you are working towards by setting SMART goals. Setting a
SMART goal will increase the probability of success. Without a SMART goal
it is easy to watch another TV show at night, stay a couple of extra hours
at work, or hit the snooze button again. Before you know it the summer is over!
Here is what SMART stands for:
Vague goals are hard to meet and easy to avoid working towards.
Put a number on it.
The goal must be attainable or it will cause frustration and take away
What does the goal mean to you and your values?
By setting one or more target dates, it can increase your motivation.
Here is an example of a SMART goal for an avid hiker in the Bitterroot Valley:
I want to hike Trapper Peak from the Baker Lake trailhead on August 27th
2016 in 8 hours or less.
An example of a bad goal for the same person:
I want to hike more this summer.
Even if you are as athletic as Michael Jordan, you will not be as strong
or have as much endurance as you did at your peak fitness level last year.
Starting with shorter durations and gradually progressing time will decrease
the chance of injury and failure. Using the hiking Trapper Peak goal as
an example, here would be an appropriate progression:
Week 1-2: hiking or walking from home for 30 min/day for 3-5 days/week.
Week 3-5: gradually increase duration and intensity of your walks/hikes while adding
challenges such as hills and uneven terrain. How you chose your progression
is extremely variable depending on your goal and personal preference.
The most important thing to avoid is restarting activity at the same speed
and duration that you ended in last season; this is a recipe for injury
or burnout before reaching your goal.
- The next step is to alternate and progress your intensity on different
days. The amount you can talk while exercising is a good measure of intensity.
For fitness, most of your time will be spent exercising at an intensity
that allows you to talk in partial sentences, although some of your days
can be easier than others.
Match your intensity to duration, shorter days = higher intensity, longer
days = lower intensity. Sticking with our Trapper Peak goal: week 1-2
walking around the neighborhood, week 3-5 integrate 2 days of canyon trails,
week 6 and beyond integrate hill climbs. Each location will create a different
intensity and make exercise more enjoyable. For those seeking exercise
for weight loss and general health an intensity allowing conversation
in full sentences is adequate to make positive physiological changes,
but high intensity exercise where talking is impossible can be effective
to individuals who prefer this type of exercise. The most important part
of activity for fitness is the total distance or volume of activity independent
of time. Talk to your healthcare provider about what intensity is best
for your health and safety.
- Last, if you want to make the most of your summer, develop a cross training
program hitting the major muscle groups. This includes shoulder blades/arms,
trunk, pelvis, upper and lower legs. The Bitterroot valley is a demanding
environment and many people can benefit from a specific strengthening
program focusing on their weakness' with biomechanically correct movement
to preserve joint cartilage and decrease the chance of injury. If you
have not engaged in a strengthening program appropriate for your abilities,
or if you would like an updated exercise program, consider talking with
a physical therapist, trainer or your primary care provider on safe options
for you. A cross-training program is the keystone that can bridge the
gap to a successful season.
Whether you want to climb Trapper peak, put in a new fence, or meet the
physical activity guidelines for health and maintain or improve your balance
following these tips can help you meet your goals. I hope to see you meeting
your goals in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley!
If you are setting exercise goals but taking medications that may be impacted
by exercise, join us on Thursday, March 17, 2016 from 5:30 to 7:00pm as
Dianne DeCamp, PhD, PharmD and Pete Dunn, DPT, OTR/L talk about the side-effects
of various medications, like statins and the value of exercise coupled
when taking medication. Have fun exploring the precautions and modifications
to exercise and how you can live an active, healthier lifestyle. This
healthcare education class will take place at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital
in the Blodgett and Canyon View conference rooms. We look forward to seeing
Questions and or comments regarding this week's health column please
contact, Jess Douglas, DPT at Marcus Daly Rehabilitation Center and Services,
a service of Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, 1200 Westwood Drive, Hamilton,
MT 59840. Working together to build a healthier community!