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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Sitting in a Conference is Not Exercise

Published June 7, 2012 5:32 PM by Rebecca Mayer
Tampa-With our nation rapidly headed toward an obesity crisis, today's session in the ‘Moving Forward in Wellness' track at the APTA Conference was a good reminder that physical activity is recommended for everyone, not just for healthy adults. Groups such as children and adolescents, older adults, persons with disabilities, pregnant and postpartum women, and persons with some chronic conditions, benefit from physical activity. The speakers cautioned, however, that some of these populations do require the proper supervision and knowledge of a physical therapist.

Speaker John McCarthy, PT, PhD, provided an overview of the health benefits of physical activity to open the session entitled, "Pitching In: The Physical Therapy Practitioner's Role in Physical Activity and Fitness Promotion." Joanell Bohmert, PT, MS, and Lisa L. Culver, PT, DPT, MBA, further provided ways to integrate physical strategies across all settings and for all acuities.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) published the first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008. The HHS Website provides educational resources, including a one-page fact sheet, that may serve as useful tools for health care practitioners.

The speakers provided an overview of national organizations that offer professional development opportunities in physical activity and fitness promotion including certifications,
workshops, courses, conferences and webinars, such as, the APTA, American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Organization and Exercise is Medicine (EIM) Initiative.

The speakers stressed that all populations need to meet the minimum physical activity standards set out by HHS. Adults, for instance, should do a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Some of the recommended activities include jogging, swimming, brisk walking, ballroom dancing or general gardening. For those short on time-and more physically able-75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity has been proven to have the same effects.

Walking to and from the conference center this week (hotels are located about 1-2 blocks away) and carrying a shoulder bag are good baseline activities but do not count toward that 2.5 hour quota, according to Dr. McCarthy.

So, what do you plan to do this week to meet your physical activity quota?


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