Category Archives: Sports and Fitness

recumbent bikes

How Recumbent Bikes Can Help You with Physical Therapy

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Recumbent bikes are fantastic pieces of gym equipment for rehabilitation and physical therapy. Their design and intent make them easy to use, with little strain on sore or injured joints, tendons, and ligaments. They also allow you to strengthen muscles during the process of recovering and after.

What is a Recumbent Bike?

A recumbent bike is a stationary bicycle that has a bucket seat. Instead of sitting directly over the pedals, the pedals are more forward centered on the machine. This makes it easier to use the bike, putting less strain on your knees, back, and hips, all while strengthening your muscles.

Recumbent bikes are seen in home gyms, fitness centers, and physical therapy rehabilitation facilities. Sometimes they are used simultaneously with a traditional upright pedal bike. However, they are typically used more as a graduated process, from a recumbent to a conventional bicycle.

Why are Recumbent Bikes Used in Physical Therapy?

Due to their design, recumbent bikes put less strain on your back, hips, and knees. When you are recovering from injury or surgery, the goal is to rehabilitate you back to the point you were before that event. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, this can take considerable time. Starting slow is a good way of reducing the risk of hurting yourself, all while providing gentle exercises to regain lost muscle tone and strength.

While you can use a recumbent bike for strength training, they are more often used as a way to work the same muscle groups as an upright bike, but with less trauma to the joints. If you have arthritis or a tendon injury, a recumbent bike is a great starter bike to get you on the road to recover or, at least, be more active.

Recumbent bikes do provide a cardio workout with less strain on the heart. With a goal of increasing heart rate and blood circulation, you can still get a great cardio workout with less stress on your joints.

If you have balance issues, a recumbent bike is often recommended over an upright bike. For patients recovering from a stroke, they can get a cardio workout in, without the worry of falling off the bike. Since you are seated and can be seat-belted in for added safety, a recumbent bike is a good alternative.

Some physicians specifically write their orders that no upright bikes be used for the treatment of their patients. This is because an upright requires you to have a weight-bearing tolerance for standing and mounting the machine. With a good recumbent bike, you can move the seat to the side, and the patient can get on the bike with minimal stress. If they are recovering from back, hip, or knee issues, this is an important differentiating feature between the two types of bikes.

Can You Do Resistance Training on Recumbent Bike?

Yes, you can do resistance training on a recumbent bike. Depending on the model and style of the bike, there are various ways to increase the resistance. If you are rehabbing an injury, the amount of resistance you will want to use will be minimal, so that you don’t hurt yourself. However, you can increase the amount of resistance, giving you a great workout as you heal and progress.

If you are using a recumbent bike in a home gym, you can get a fantastic cardio workout without straining your back and hips.

Recumbent bikes are a great tool in the physical therapy realm. They are also extremely beneficial for home and fitness gyms where you may have some limitations but still desire a great cardio workout.

Please consult your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. For help finding a workout that fits your lifestyle and ability levels don’t hesitate to call your physical therapist. They have the expertise and skills needed to help keep you active and safely avoid injuries during sports and exercise.

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PT News June 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout June 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. 8 Great Pelvic Floor Stretches to Do During Pregnancy
Written by Ability Rehabilitation with multiple locations throughout Orlando and Tampa Bay.

retching and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy can help relieve your aches and pains — and alleviate stress and tension too. Pelvic floor stretches will also help you have an easier delivery and decrease your risk of urinary incontinence later on.  Read more


get active square

2. Get Active to Stay Active

Written by Rebound Physical Therapy, a privately owned, outpatient physical therapy practice throughout Central Oregon.

Summer is a time to have fun and spend time outdoors. It is an opportunity to enjoy the sunshine. It’s a time when you can go out for a walk and roll down the windows and take in everything that nature has to offer, allergies and all. Read more


3. For Shoulder Relief Try These Home Remedies

Written by Sport and Spine Physical Therapy with 4 physical therapy locations in Southern, WI.

Shoulder pain can be one of the most disabling problems to deal with. Whether you realize it or not, you use your shoulder pretty frequently throughout most days, as it permits practically any movement that involves your arms. Read more

Periodization Weight Training

A Guide to Periodization with Weight Training

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Periodization Weight Training

Periodization is an important technique utilized with training in order to maximize gains, whether it be through increased aerobic performance, speed, and strength. This guide outlines simple tips customizing training programs to prevent plateauing with training and improve performance. By no means is this an exhaustive guide, or an end all be all in regards to what specific exercises to perform to improve function or performance. For specifics on what exercises to perform, this depends on what goals you seek to achieve and physical characteristics, which can be outlined by a physical therapist or certified strength and conditioning coach.

1. Strength, endurance, hypertrophy, power continuing and rest

The amount of resistance, number of repetitions, and speed the exercises are performed all have an impact on how the body will respond to training. Proper training requires proper rest between sets to maximize the effect of whatever you are trying to accomplish. For a rough and dirty guide on training loads and adaptations, use the following:

weight training

Brute Strength
100% of Max (1-5 Reps)
In this range, gains are made more from neuromuscular adaptations with little effect on muscle fiber size.
REST: When training for maximum strength or power, rest for 3— 5 minutes between sets.


weight training

Power Training (High Velocity)
80-90% of Max (1-3 Reps)
At a high velocity to promote endurance and power.
REST: When training for maximum strength or power, rest for 3— 5 minutes between sets.


weight lifting

Strength and Mass
76-82% of Max (6-8 Reps)
This range still heavily taxes the neuromuscular system but provides a high enough volume to help elicit gains in muscle mass.
REST: When training for strength, utilize a rest scheme of 2— 3 minutes between sets.


weight lifting

68-74% of Max (9-12 Reps)
This range is the best for providing a high enough volume to elicit large gains in muscle mass, but not enough of a stimulus to cause as great of a strength gain as high resistances.
REST: When training to maximize muscle mass, utilize a rest scheme of 60— 90 seconds between sets.

Endurance Training
13+ REPETITIONS- These rep ranges do a better job at promoting muscular endurance, but do not have a high enough intensity to elicit large changes in muscle mass.
REST: When training for endurance, utilize a rest scheme of 30— 45 seconds between each sent.

*Note the above information is applicable to multi-joint movements like squats and deadlifts. Single joint movements, such as bicep curls, can typically be done for a greater number of repetitions at any percentage of an individual’s given maximum, and so, will need to be assessed accordingly when developing a training program.

2. Training Cycles

Training cycles are an organized way to design a training program to meet a specific over-arching goal. This consists of macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles.

weight training cycle

3. Progressive vs. an Undulating Program

Progressive programs revolve around a systematic increase in volume, intensity, or both in a given cycle while an undulating program utilizes a randomized progression within a cycle, in which the volume, intensity, or both can vary daily, weekly, or monthly. Neither progression displays a significant superiority over one another in regards to peak performance. However, some suggest that undulating programs carry a smaller risk of overtraining. In reality, the utilization of both progression techniques allows progression and reduces the risk of overtraining while reducing the risk of plateauing.

Putting it all together (Example: 3 Month Training Progression)

Month 1- Capacity Building
Higher rep range to help the body become accustomed to training. Utilizing a combination of periodization an undulation in a month progression:


  • wk 1— 4 sets of 13—15 reps at 55% — 60%;
  • wk 2— 4 sets of 11—13 reps at 64%—70%;
  • wk 3— 4 sets of 10—12 reps at 68%—72%;
  • wk 4— 4 sets of 10—12 at 60% — 64%

Each week the rep ranges decreased with increasing resistance until week 4. The 1st 3 weeks utilize a linear progression in order to increase the body’s ability to handle a given training volume, but week 4 acts as a deloading week. This takes the undulating approach into account to alter load parameters to allow for recovery within a training cycle in order to reduce the risk of overtraining.  Another important note, the higher the resistance, the lower the number of repetitions performed.

Month 2- Hypertrophy Phase
Utilize a weight that is challenging for 9 to 12 repetitions with eventually progressing to 8 to 10 repetitions utilizing progressive system detailed in month 1.


  • wk 1— 10 to 12 reps at 68%— 72%
  • wk 2— 9 to 11 reps at 70%— 74%
  • wk 3— 8 to 10 reps at 72%— 76%
  • wk 4— sets of 8 at 64%— 70%


Month 3- Strength Phase
Utilizing resistance that is challenging for 6 to 8 reps and eventually progressing to a resistance that only allows for performing 4 to 6 reps.


  • wk 1— 6 to 8 reps at 76%— 82%
  • wk 2— 5 to 7 reps at 78%— 85%
  • wk 3— 4 to 6 reps at 82%— 88%
  • wk 4 sets of 5 to 8 at 70%— 75%

This would training progression could be used a stand-alone training progression, or as part of a more comprehensive training program. The three-month block could act as a mesocycle for a larger training program with each month acting as a microcycle to address short term goals.

*Note this is by no means an exhaustive list, nor is this a specific training progression for different sports. This is just an example of how the different concepts are written in this paperwork together in a training progression.

physical therapy near me

This article was written by Rehab Associates of Northern Virginia. Rehab Associates of Central Virginia is an outpatient physical therapy clinic that focuses on putting the patient’s needs first. Their physical therapists have advanced degrees in specialty orthopedic care from head to toe.

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PT News May 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout May 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

nutrition strategies

1. Effective Nutrition Strategies
Written by The Center for Physical Rehabilitation with 8 physical therapy locations throughout Greater Grand Rapids, MI.

How do you stay on target with eating healthy and being active? Between work schedules, kids schedules, appointments, and change of plans, finding time to exercise and eat right can sometimes feel impossible. Read more


physical therapy for headaches

2. Physical Therapy Can Help Headaches
Written by Mishock Physical Therapy and Associates, a privately owned, outpatient physical therapy practice throughout Montgomery, Berks and Chester Counties.

Headache pain is the third most common pain complaint worldwide. Some people suffer from the occasional headache, but others suffer from daily, chronic headaches which can be disabling, interfere with one’s ability to work and result in decreased quality of life. Read more


Does Mono Mean no exercise

3. Does Mono Mean No Exercise?
Written by The Jackson Clinics with 21 physical therapy locations throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland.

Mononucleosis—often known simply as “mono”—has an incubation period of one to two months. Once symptoms appear, recovery can take an additional four to six weeks. Until your physician tells you it is safe to resume more strenuous workouts, avoid any but the mildest exercise. Read more

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PT News February 2019

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PT News PTandMe

This time in PT News we recap what our clinics have been posting throughout February 2019. We are excited to begin a new year of new posts featuring published articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!


2. Can I Exercise Safely with a Cold?
Written by the Therapy Team at The Jackson Clinics with physical therapy locations throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland.

The average adult gets one to six colds every year, with symptoms lasting a week to 10 days. Should you let these colds interrupt your exercise routine? Probably not, as long as you pay attention to what your body tells you. Read more


3. Physical Therapy for the Treatment of Osteoporosis
Written by the physical therapy team at Mishock Physical Therapy & Associates with locations throughout Montgomery, Berks and Chester, PA counties.

Osteoporosis is the leading cause of fractures in the elderly. It is a disease which causes diminished bone mass and leads to a decrease in bone quality which results in increased risk for bone fractures. Fractures can lead to functional disability, chronic pain, and at times, early death. Read more

athletic trainer

Who is an Athletic Trainer?

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athletic trainer

Athletic trainers hold at least a four year degree from a BOC (Board of Certification) accredited institution. They are licensed, certified health professionals working with athletes on and off the field. Generally they are the first responders when injuries occur during sporting events.

Athletic trainers work closely with coaches and parents and will refer athletes to other health care professionals such as physicians, physical therapists and surgeons when needed.

Athletic trainers hours are determined by sports schedules. Typically they are available after school and stay until sporting events have concluded.


  • Prepare athletes for competition by taking preventative measures such as equipment fitting, taping and bracing
  • Assess athletes with acute and chronic injuries to determine their participation status
  • Perform sport-specific rehabilitation on injured athletes
  • Provide opportunities for strengthening and conditioning
  • Work with sports staff on proper warm up, game day preparation and on/off season conditioning
  • Educate athletes, coaches and parents on sports medicine strategies, nutrition and sports psychology

running back


  • Support athletes during sporting events
  • Manage any type of musculoskeletal issues including:
  • Shoulder, hip, knee, elbow, hand and ankle injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries like concussions
  • Triage and wound care
  • Heat-related illnesses
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Catastrophic injuries

This information was written by the Center for Physical Rehabilitation, an outpatient physical therapy group with five locations in Western Michigan. The Center specializes in all inclusive physical therapy services, such as: Sports Medicine, Orthopedic Post-Surgical and McKenzie Therapy. Our state-of-the-art facilities are conveniently located around Grand Rapids with extended hours. Independent and locally owned since 1994, we have the freedom to work with the most qualified healthcare professionals. For more information click here.

seniors start exercising

Seniors: It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising

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seniors start exercising

For years, seniors have attributed their aches, pains, and illnesses to the normal aging process. Age is often used as a reason to avoid exercise. But a regular exercise program can improve the quality of your life and help you avoid illness, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. As always, you should consult with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.

Most people know that with age, come certain physiological changes. Studies show that we lose the following as we age:
• Lean muscle tissue—Most of us will lose muscle mass as we get older. We usually hit our peak muscle mass early—around age 20—and begin losing muscle mass thereafter.
• Aerobic capacity—The aerobic capacity is the ability of the heart and the body to deliver and use oxygen efficiently. Changes in the heart and decrease in muscle tissue decrease aerobic capacity.
• Balance—As we age, our ability to balance decreases, making falls and injuries more likely. The loss of muscle is a major contributor to losses on balance.
• Flexibility—Our joints and tendons lose some of their range of motion with age, making it difficult to bend and move around comfortably.
• Bone density—Most of us reach our peak bone density around age 20. After that, bones can become gradually thinner and weaker, which can lead to osteoporosis.

Fortunately, regular exercise can help delay some of these changes and give you the energy you need to do everyday activities like walking, shopping, and playing with your grandchildren. Exercise may even help decrease depression and stress, improve mood and self-esteem, and postpone age-related cognitive decline.

By adding endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance training into your routine, you will be healthier, happier, and more energetic.

senior push ups

Decades ago, doctors rarely recommended aerobic exercise for older people. But we now know that most people can safely do moderate exercises. Studies have shown that doing aerobic exercise just a few days a week can bring significant improvements in endurance.

Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise—such as brisk walking, bicycling, or swimming—at least 5 days a week. You do not have to do 30 minutes at once—you can break these sessions up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions. Moderate exercise will cause your heart rate to rise and your breathing to be slightly elevated, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.

It is not just aging that makes people lose muscle. One of the main reasons older people lose muscle mass is that they stop exercising and doing everyday activities that build muscle.

Building stronger muscles can help protect your joints, strengthen your bones, improve your balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, and make it easier for you to move around in general. Even small changes in your muscle size and strength—ones that you cannot even see—will make things like walking quickly across the street and getting up out of a chair easier to do.

Aim to do strength exercises (eg, weight lifting) every other day, or at least twice a week. For each exercise, do three sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Increasing your overall activity level and doing stretching exercises can markedly improve your flexibility.

To improve the flexibility—or range of motion—of your joints, incorporate bending and stretching exercises into your routine. A good time to do your flexibility exercises is after your strength training routine. This is because you muscles will already be warmed up. Examples of exercises that you may enjoy include Tai chi, yoga, Pilates, and exercises that you do in the water.

By regularly stretching, you will be able to move around easier. You may also feel less stressed, and your posture will improve.

Just becoming more physically active will improve your balance and decrease your risk of falling. If you add some basic balancing exercises to your exercise routine, you will begin feeling more stable on your feet. Balance exercises can be done just about anywhere and usually require no more equipment than a chair.

Keep in mind that if you are having severe problems with balance, a fall prevention physical therapy program can be a great way to regain your balance, increase strength or improve flexibility.

To avoid injury, start slowly. Add one or two sessions a week at first and progress from there as you begin to feel stronger. A physical therapist, or other health professional, can help develop a program that will be both safe and effective. Check with your local fitness or community center, which may offer exercise classes designed especially for older adults. Check with your primary health care provider if you are planning to participate in vigorous activities.

Remember, it is never too late to start exercising. The sooner you start, the sooner you will start feeling healthier, more energetic, and less stressed.

American Heart Association

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition

Health Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada


Effects of aging. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated September 2009. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Exercise and physical activity: your everyday guide from the National Institute on Aging. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: Updated February 16, 2016. Accessed April 4, 2016.

Physical activity: glossary of terms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated June 10, 2015. Accessed on April 4, 2016.

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

common workout injuries

Common Workout Injuries and How to Avoid Them

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Nothing can put a halt in your fitness journey like a workout injury. As we start the new year, many will embark on a journey to achieve their own personal fitness goals. However, injuries such as sprains, fractures, lower back pain, and other injuries can stop you from reaching your goals. Making sure you are educated on the different types of injuries and how to prevent them can help you avoid the headache of a potential injury. If you do injure yourself, resting, icing the injury, compressing it and elevating it can help you recover from minor injuries and get right back into your fitness routine. If you are experiencing a lingering pain, please consult your physical therapist. Pain can be a warning sign from your body that an injury is likely to occur. Fitness19 has created an infographic highlighting the most common workout injuries and how you can avoid them. Check it out below for more information.

Common Workout Injuries and how to avoid them.

winter sports safety

Winter Sports Safety

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winter sports safety

The first snow fall is exciting. It’s a signal to strap on the skis and skates, or even jump on a sled. Days spent playing in the frosty snow can be jam packed with fun, but like any activity you need to play safely. Winter activities can lead to the same bumps and bruises of every sport, but there’s the added concern of how to safely stay outside in cold temperatures. To help with that we have compiled a few winter snow safety strategies to help you avoid some of the most common winter sport injuries.

General Guidelines
No matter what your winter sport is, it is important to take a few minutes and make sure you know how to be safe.
Suggestions include:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute. Start strength training the muscles you will need a month or so ahead of time. This will help you get into proper shape.
  • Make sure you are in good physical condition for activities in the cold. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.
  • Warm up with light exercise for 5 minutes before you engage in any sport.
  • Make sure your equipment and protective gear is in good condition and fits well.
  • Always wear the appropriate protective gear for your sport.
  • Dress properly for the cold. Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Wear several layers of tops and pants under warm jackets. Wear hats and water-resistant gloves. Face masks may be necessary for very cold weather.
  • Protect your eyes from snow glare with shatter-proof sunglasses or goggles with UV protection.
  • Take lessons to improve your ability. Better skills will allow you to adjust to changing conditions.
  • Many organizations, like the National Ski Areas Association, recommend the use of helmets for down hill winter sports to prevent head injury.

Skiing and Snowboarding
Skiing and snowboarding have their own special equipment. The right equipment and the right fit are as important as knowing what you are doing. This will reduce your risk of injury.
Here are some other things you need to know:

  • Take lessons from an expert. Evidence supports that beginners are hurt more frequently. The quicker you improve, the safer you will be on the slopes.
  • Stick with your abilities. Do not attempt to ski a slope that is beyond your personal abilities. Ski marked trails and observe trail signs. Rest when you get tired.
  • Be sure that equipment is properly maintained and clean—no dirt or salt between boots, bindings, and the binding mechanism.
  • Properly adjust bindings to reduce the chance of leg injuries. Test your ability to escape bindings by standing in the skis, then twisting to release the toe and heel pieces
  • Wear the proper gear for snowboarding. This includes snowboarding pants, wrist guards, arm guards, and shin guards.
  • When approaching the lift, be aware pieces of clothing that could become entangled.
  • Wear a helmet specifically designed for snow sports.
  • Always ski or board with a buddy.
  • Know and observe all the rules about crossing a trail, passing, and stopping.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Wear bright colors.
  • If you are cross-country skiing for long distances, take snacks, water, extra clothes, and first aid supplies with you. Take a cell phone if you will be skiing in a remote area.

Skating injuries often result from tripping on bumps in the ice, colliding with other skaters, and falling through the ice.
Recommendations to skaters include:

  • Skate with a buddy or at least make sure there are other people around.
  • Stick to shallow flooded fields and supervised areas.
  • Avoid lakes, ponds, or rivers until the ice has been tested by a local official.
  • Never skate close to open bodies of water.
  • Supervise all small children.
  • Never build fires  or drive cars on ice.
  • In case of a fall into icy water:
    – Do not climb out right away. Kick into a horizontal position and try to slide onto solid ice.
    – When out of the water, roll away and do not stand until you put several body lengths between you and the broken ice.
  • To rescue others that have fallen through the ice:
    – Call emergency medical services right away and do not walk up to the break.
    – Use a reaching aid, such as a rope. If possible, form a human chain, each person holding onto the heels of the next person.
    – If you have to go onto the ice, distribute weight by lying flat over a wide area. Try to use another reaching aid to close the distance between you and the break in the ice.


Hockey-related injuries can occur on the ice, street, field, or in the gym.
Recommendations for hockey players include:

  • Always wear protective equipment. This includes helmets, pads, hockey pants, gloves, athletic supporter or cup, and neck protector.
  • Make sure everything fits you properly and that it is in good condition.
  • Show good sportsmanship. Do not hit other players and bystanders who happen to get in the way.
  • Do not engage in fighting.

If you experience an injury while having fun on the slopes or in the rink, go see your physical therapist. A PT can evaluate your injury, start a treatment plan, and most importantly, make sure you’re able to get back out enjoying your winter sports and activities. They might even go back out with you.

by Amy Scholten, MPH

En Español

National Safety Council

US Consumer Product Safety Commission

Canada Safety Council

Health Canada

Castellani JW, Young AJ, et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Prevention of cold injuries during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006;38(11):2012-2029.
Concussion in winter sports. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated December 24, 2012. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Extreme winter sports can lead to extreme injuries. National Safety Council website. Available at: Accessed October 20, 2014.
Frostbite. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated December 15, 2011. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Ice safety. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website. Available at: Updated December 2, 2013. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Ice skating. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: Accessed October 20, 2014.
Ice skating safety facts and tips. National Safety Council website. Available at Accessed October 20, 2014.
Hypothermia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated August 11, 2014. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Safety tips hockey. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: Updated January 2014. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Safety tips sledding. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: Updated January 2014. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Safety tips snowboarding. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: Updated March 2014. Accessed October 20, 2014.
Ski and snowboard safety facts and tips. National Safety Council website. Available at: Accessed October 20, 2014.

Last reviewed July 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 10/20/2014

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

lack of exercise worse than smoking

Lack of Exercise Worse than Smoking, Diabetes, and Heart Disease

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lack of exercise worse than smoking

As physical therapists, it is our job to promote movement and overall well-being.  Exercising regularly is linked to better physical and mental health and can help to prevent or delay heart disease, strokes, certain types of cancer, and diabetes. What is perhaps less known is that not being active can be harmful to your health. This lifestyle, called sedentary, has been linked to a number of preventable diseases. Researchers wanted to assess the impact of a sedentary lifestyle on all-cause mortality. The study, published in JAMA, suggests that a sedentary lifestyle has a larger impact on our health than previously thought.

About the study
The study by Jama included 122,007 participants at an academic medical center. The mean age of the participants was 53 years and they were 59% male. Among these, 13,637 died during the study.

The study followed participants for median of 8.4 years. Their physical fitness was measured using exercise treadmill testing and they were arranged by age and gender into the following performance groups:

  • Low—less active than 25% of participants
  • Below average—less active than 49% of participants
  • Above average—more active than at least 50% of participants
  • High—more active than at least 75% of participants
  • Elite—more active than almost 98% of participants

The study found that death from any cause was lowest among elite category. Death rates were highest among those in low category. It also found that the increase in risk of death linked to sedentary behavior was equal to or greater than the risk of death from smoking, diabetes, and heart disease.

How Does This Affect You?

Cohort studies are observational studies. These studies simply observe events as they unfold, but do not interfere or introduce factors that can affect the outcome. While they can’t show direct cause and effect, they can show a possible link between two factors. A large number of studies have found that sedentary behavior affects health, however this is the first that showed it may be as significant as smoking, diabetes, or heart disease.

If you are sedentary, start moving. Make changes in small increments to help you adjust. Starting a workout routine can be a challenge, but with the help of a physical therapist, you can learn how to get started and safely build up to a regular routine. Work toward at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Start with short episodes of activity. Try doing 3-4 bouts of walking for 10 minutes at a time, spread throughout the day.
  • Try out different activities to see which work best for you.
  • Look for opportunities to move during the day. Take stairs instead of the elevator, park a little further away, or walk instead of taking your car. Little bits can add up and help you reach longer goals.

If you are already active, keep it up! Make sure to schedule activity into your daily routine.

Need help getting started? We have some great ideas for you here!

exercise tips starting a workout program


2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans Summary. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: Accessed October 25, 2018.

Mandsager K, Harb S, et al. Association of cardiorespiratory fitness with long-term mortality among adults undergoing exercise treadmill testing. JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(6):e183605. Available at: Accessed October 25, 2018.