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Motion is Lotion!

We all need to move and at some point, you were likely told or have read that it is a good idea to get at least 30 minutes of activity each day. The American Heart Institute recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days a week for a total of 150 minutes or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes. It is also recommended to perform moderate to high intensity muscle strengthening at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

It is obviously a good idea to exercise to maintain good cardiovascular health, but exercise is also key to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers (breast, colon, endometrial, lung), improve your mental health and mood, prevent falls, and increase your chances of living longer.

As a physical therapist, I like to use the phrase, “motion is lotion.” Motion is lotion for the joints, bones, and muscles. Physical activity encourages circulation of the synovial fluid, which is what lubricates your joints. Strengthening helps to protect our joints. For example, our deep core muscles, when strong, help to stabilize our spine by acting like a brace to protect the joints. Muscle strengthening and weight bearing exercises build and help maintain bone density. Muscle strengthening exercises are activities that involve moving your body, a weight, or a resistance band against gravity.​ W​ eight bearing exercises are exercises that make you move against gravity while standing upright. Dancing, jogging, stair climbing, and jumping rope are examples of high impact weight bearing exercises. Fast walking, using an elliptical machine, rising from a chair, and low impact aerobics are examples of low impact exercises. Research now shows that ​120 to 300 minutes of at least moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week have a lower risk of hip fracture.

Should you stop exercising if you have arthritis, pain, or reach a certain age? Everyone can benefit from physical activity and age, ethnicity, and size do not matter. Water aerobics is an excellent option for those with multiple regions of arthritis, pain, or are too weak to tolerate weight bearing positions. You do not have to go to a gym to exercise. There are multiple exercises that can be performed at home, such as: sitting and standing from a chair, leg raises performed lying down or sitting, forward step ups, standing or sitting marching, and standing or sitting arm lifting with or without weights.

Certain exercises might not be safe or suitable for those with certain conditions or are at risk for falling. It is best to first contact your primary care doctor with questions regarding exercise. Although moderate physical activity such as brisk walking is safe for most people, it is best to talk to your doctor before starting a exercise program. Your doctor might recommend seeing a physical therapist to design a fitness program that will address your body’s specific areas of need and will help you avoid injury as you work on improving your fitness level.


Jessica Voegeli, MPT
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Jessica currently works at Rivergate Physical therapy located upstairs at the Animas Surgical Hospital. Jessica graduated with her Master’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 2010. ​She values unique exercises and hands on techniques to remediate impairments and disabilities, to ultimately promote mobility, functional ability, quality of life, and movement potential. Jessica strives to create individualized treatments, while maintaining a comfortable and fun ambiance.

References: Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WzPIs flKjIU ise-for-strong-bones/

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