Ex­er­cise is good medicine at the right dosage

FIT­NESS SO­LU­TIONS Lis­ten to your body — and re­mem­ber, it’s meant to make you feel good!

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - ERNIE SCHRAMAYR Med­i­cal ex­er­cise spe­cial­ist Ernie Schramayr, CPT, helps his clients man­age med­i­cal con­di­tions with ex­er­cise. You can fol­low him at ernies­fit­ness­world.com. 905-741-7532 or ernies­fit­ness­world@gmail.com

Ev­ery­one knows ex­er­cise is good for you. Whether you want to com­pete in an ad­ven­ture race, lose 20 pounds or man­age high blood pres­sure, you can’t re­ally do any of these things ef­fec­tively without work­ing out.

Ex­er­cise can even act like a “pre­ven­tive drug” when it comes to things like heart disease, di­a­betes, can­cer and even some psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders.

If you al­ready en­gage in reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, don’t stop! And if you don’t ex­er­cise on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, there re­ally is too much data about it’s many ben­e­fits to ig­nore and not get started.

The ques­tions then, for some­one look­ing for the max­i­mum ben­e­fit of a con­sis­tent fit­ness pro­gram, are: What should I be do­ing? Fol­lowed by: How much, how long and how hard?

Like medicine, ex­er­cise will do the most for you when it is ad­min­is­tered at the right dosage — some­times called the “Goldilocks Zone.” Not too soft, not too hard. Just right!

Ev­ery new client that I see starts with a con­sul­ta­tion for gath­er­ing rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion about health sta­tus, ex­er­cise his­tory, cur­rent life­style fac­tors, likes, dis­likes and goals.

Tak­ing all this into con­sid­er­a­tion, I use a strat­egy called the FITT for­mula for out­lin­ing an ideal plan for them. This for­mula is easy to use your­self to set up a plan that will guar­an­tee your suc­cess.

FITT is an acro­nym that stands for fre­quency, in­ten­sity, time and type. For clients who have or­tho­pe­dic con­cerns, spe­cific med­i­cal con­di­tions or who might be re­cov­er­ing from surgery, I add a P as well — for “pre­cau­tions.”


The num­ber of times per week that you ac­tu­ally ex­er­cise. This is highly de­pen­dent upon your goals and your life­style or abil­ity to re­cover be­tween ses­sions.

I meet peo­ple who have the per­fect ex­er­cise rou­tine but who sim­ply aren’t fol­low­ing through of­ten enough. On the other hand, do­ing too much, too of­ten can de­lay pos­i­tive results as you move beyond your body’s abil­ity to re­cover be­tween ses­sions.


The way the body gets stronger and fit­ter is by plac­ing new de­mands on it. So it must adapt by build­ing new mus­cle or by in­creas­ing en­durance. One of the eas­i­est ways to do this is to in­crease the in­ten­sity of an ex­er­cise. This can be done by mov­ing faster, push­ing against greater re­sis­tance or de­creas­ing rest breaks be­tween bouts of ex­er­cise.


This refers to the amount of time you ac­tu­ally spend in each ex­er­cise ses­sion. Be­gin­ners might start with as lit­tle as 10 min­utes and then in­crease as their tol­er­ance to ex­er­cise in­creases. From my ex­pe­ri­ence, there are di­min­ish­ing re­turns once some­one spends over 60 min­utes at any given time in a work­out and is a sure sign that their in­ten­sity level is too low.


Whether it is walk­ing, yoga, weightlift­ing or Zumba, the ac­tiv­ity must be suited to help you reach your de­sired out­come. For ex­am­ple: If you want to strengthen your bones to ward off os­teo­poro­sis, then Aquafit is not a great choice and you should be lift­ing weights.

Fi­nally, for clients with spe­cial needs, it’s im­por­tant to con­sider the “P” — for pre­cau­tions. For ex­am­ple, an ex­er­ciser with high blood pres­sure should not be hold­ing their breath and strain­ing iso­met­ri­cally when lift­ing weights while some­one who has had a to­tal hip re­place­ment should not cross their legs when go­ing from ly­ing to stand­ing.

In the end, it’s im­por­tant to lis­ten to your body and de­cide what is right for you.

The point of ex­er­cis­ing is to make you feel good. If it isn’t do­ing that, eval­u­ate where you might need to make changes and ad­just things.

Get­ting it “right” is as much art as it is science. You’ll know you are on the right path when you start to no­tice pos­i­tive changes.

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