Monday Memo 11/19/2018

The Monday Memo

November 19th, 2018                                                                           PITT DPT STUDENTS

Exercise in the Daily Life

The profession of physical therapy identifies with the vision statement of, “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience;” We, as physical therapists, conduct ourselves accordingly to enact this vision. Physical activity and exercise in the daily life play a huge role in movement. Everyone knows that exercise promotes a healthy lifestyle, but exactly how beneficial is it and how does one incorporate exercise into his or her busy life?

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open found that cardiorespiratory fitness is a long-term indicator for mortality1. Most people would agree with this finding without performing a formal research study, but there is more to it; the study also found that living a sedentary lifestyle is more threatening to your health than smoking, diabetes, or heart disease1. We always knew exercise was important, but more and more research is showing how it is one of the biggest indicators for mortality.

Living a sedentary lifestyle puts an individual at risk for many chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and etc. Our country is currently facing a chronic disease epidemic with 86% of our health care costs going towards chronic and mental health conditions2. The CDC estimates that the lack of physical activity costs our country $117 billion dollars each year2. So how can we combat this issue?

A common complaint for why people do not exercise is the lack of time (physical therapists know this struggle all to well trying to get patients to comply with their home exercise program). How is a mother of two who works an 8-4 job or a full-time student supposed to fit exercise into their daily routine? Here’s a quick tip, it does not take much time to reach physical activity requirements. The ACSM and AHA claim that an individual needs at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week or at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week3. Taking those numbers into account, can you spare between 60-150 minutes a week to meet these physical activity requirements? If not, here are a few tips to help you out.


  1. Incorporate physical activity into your daily commute or work/school day
  • Walk or bike to work/school when/if possible
  • Incorporate physical activity into your lunch break
    • Here at Pitt PT, we love to play some volleyball or take walks by the river during our lunch break
  • Get up and move. If you work at a desk, make it a priority to get up every hour and walk, whether it is keeping a printer in a different room or simply doing a lap around the office
  1. Decrease the time in your workout by increasing the intensity
  • Super-sets are a great way to cut time out of your workout and to increase intensity
    • Example: Instead of just doing bicep curls with breaks in-between, alternate between biceps curls and shoulder press back to back in order to decrease time and increase intensity
  • Incorporate interval training into your cardio
    • Going for a run or walking on the treadmill can get boring or take a long time
    • Interval training can decrease the time needed to do cardio while increasing intensity while getting the same or greater cardiac effect
    • Example: One minute of walking on a treadmill at 0 incline followed by walking on an incline of 4.0 for 30 seconds and then repeating
    • Example (Higher level): One minute of walking on a treadmill at 4.0 incline followed by a sprint on 4.0 incline for 30 seconds and then repeating

Additional Tips

  1. Find an exercise buddy
  • Whether it’s a co-worker, friend, or family member, having an exercise partner will keep you interested and motivated
  1. Don’t forget about healthy eating! (Remember, fruit salad, yummy yummy!)


In conclusion, physical activity will not only help your health physically, but also mentally, so get out and get moving! As always, Hail to Pitt!

-Aaron McCullough, SPT



  1. Mandsager K, Harb S, Cremer P, Phelan D, Nissen SE, Jaber W. Association of Cardiorespiratory Fitness With Long-term Mortality Among Adults Undergoing Exercise Treadmill Testing. JAMA Network Open. 2018;1(6):e183605. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3605
  2. Health and Economic Costs of Chronic Disease.
  3. Haskell, W. L., Lee, I-M., Pate, R. R., Powell, K. E., Blair, S. N., Franklin, B. A., … Bauman, A. (2007). Physical activity and public health: Updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circulation, 116(9), 1081-1093.\
November 19, 2018 |

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