Get Moving for a Stronger, Healthier You
Physical activity provides your body with amazing benefits. And this includes anything that gets your body moving and heart pumping – from walking and playing with your children to weight-lifting and playing sports.
With each move, you can decrease your risk of disease while strengthening your heart, lungs, mind and more.
“Physical activity not only increases your muscle mass, but also bone mass,” says Brandon Fites, MD, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at Avera Orthopedics in Aberdeen, S.D. “And stronger muscles and bones can decrease the risk of bone fractures as you age.”
“Being physically active when you’re younger helps build up bone mass before the aging process causes you to lose bone mass. But any time is a great time to start being more physically active. You’re never too late to benefit from it.”
HIIT Up the Gym
While any kind of physical activity is beneficial, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can take your health to the next level in a shorter amount of time.
HIIT workouts include short bursts of intense exercise followed by low-intensity recovery periods. And the best part is that they can be effective in as little as 10 to 30 minutes. In fact, studies have shown that HIIT workouts can produce health benefits similar to twice as much moderate-intensity exercise.
And when your HIIT workout includes plyometric exercises such as jump squats, jump lunges or box jumps, you’ll reap additional benefits.
“Plyometric training is great for preventing injury,” says Fites. “It’s been shown to reduce the rate of ACL tears which is a common activity-related injury.”
With HIIT workouts, it’s also simple to incorporate a wide variety of moves so that you’ll not only get a full-body workout, but an added injury prevention boost.
“When you cross-train, you’re working a variety of muscles throughout the body so you don’t have as much opportunity to experience a repetitive injury,” he adds.
No matter which type of exercise you choose, the key to reaping all of the benefits is to do each move with proper form.
“Starting with an understanding of your form and movement is important,” says Whitnee Fester, an exercise specialist at Avera Sports in Sioux Falls, S.D. “For example, before doing an explosive movement like a jump squat, learn what a proper basic squat feels and looks like. If you’re new to working out, go to a gym where you can work with a professional to learn the foundations of your movements.
If personal training isn’t for you, try a group exercise class where a certified trainer can explain each move and check your form.
“We’re here to help you get the best workout,” says Fester. “Another nice thing about our classes is that each move can be modified. So if you’re new to working out or even recovering from an injury, you can do fewer repetitions, lower weight or a different move altogether. We can give you options.”
You’ll not only benefit from the expert guidance, but also from the energy of the group.
“I see everyone work a little harder in group classes because – whether or not they realize it – they’re pushing and challenging each other,” she says. “The group atmosphere is great for motivation.”