Accessibility View Close toolbar

The Fast Lane

Driving fast is not necessarily a good thing. We want to get where we're going as quickly as possible, but we also want to arrive safely. If we drive too fast, we may encounter all sorts of problems. If we drive too slow, we're wasting time and may be causing traffic problems behind us. These competing considerations will both be fulfilled by maintaining an average velocity that is at or close to the posted speed limit. We want to find the "sweet spot," the happy medium that both saves time and helps keep us safe.

The same principles may also be applied when we're exercising. We want to improve, get stronger, and build more endurance as soon as we can, while simultaneously avoiding injury and staying healthy. Very often, these goals may conflict. It's important to ensure that we're exercising efficiently and making certain we're deriving the greatest benefit from our exercise time. These benefits are obtained by a steady approach, one that focuses on incremental gains accomplished over time.1

It's natural to want to arrive at a desired outcome quickly. But as with any other form of training, whether learning to play the piano or becoming a competent chess player, substantial time is required to produce long lasting results. In the case of exercise, trying to hurry the process will usually cause an injury. You'll be set back at least weeks, if not months, and you'll have to start over, pretty much from the beginning.

For almost all of us the "tortoise" approach, rather than that of the "hare" in the well-known fable, will produce the health benefits we're hoping to achieve from our daily exercise. If you've never walked before and want to incorporate this aerobic activity as part of your exercise routine, start with a 10-minute walk. This doesn't sound like much, but that is precisely the point. Start by doing a little and build up gradually and consistently. Within 6 or 8 weeks you'll be doing 30-40 minute brisk walks several times a week, which will represent a very good aerobic exercise program. Incorporating strength training into your routine will employ a similar method. For each of your exercises (such as bench press, one-arm row, squat, toe raise, shoulder press, biceps curl, and lying triceps press), begin with a weight with which you can comfortably do 10 repetitions. If you can't do 10 reps, the weight is too heavy. Start with that weight and do 3 sets per exercise. Build up gradually by increasing the weight by 5%, if possible, each week or every 2 weeks. After 10 to 12 weeks you'll be noticeably stronger and your metabolism will begin to be more efficient.2,3

By progressing slowly and steadily, you will build a solid base and make consistent and possibly substantial gains in your exercise routine. You will get where you want to get safely and effectively. The long-term outcome will be enhanced health, wellness, and well-being.


1Marongiu E, Crisafulli A: Cardioprotection acquired through exercise: the role of ischemic preconditioning. Curr Cardiol Rev 10(4):336-348, 2014
2Huxel Bliven KC, Anderson BE: Core stability training for injury prevention. Sports Health 5(6):514-522, 2013
3Granacher U, et al: The importance of trunk muscle strength for balance, functional performance, and fall prevention in seniors: a systematic review. Sports Med 43(7):627-641, 2013

New patients receive a free consultation!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Tuesday:

2pm - 6pm

Wednesday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Thursday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Appointment Only

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

  • "Dr. Blair and his staff are wonderful, caring individuals who have always given my family the best care. You guys are amazing!"
  • Ice Capades

    In the depths of winter, adults, as well as children, exert themselves to engage in enjoyable outdoor activities that will keep them warm and provide both excitement and entertainment. Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, sledding, ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating all have their enthusiasts. Many ...

    Read More
  • Being a Change Agent

    Being a Change Agent For most of us, change happens slowly, if at all. But as the recent holiday season fades into the distance, many of us wish to be increasingly proactive this year and take real action on the numerous New Year's resolutions that we made in regard to our health and well-being. Back ...

    Read More
  • Holiday Cheer

    In early winter, whether we're celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas, both or nothing at all, families and friends gather to share food and drink and give thanks for a year successfully completed. We send up a rousing holiday cheer and share delicious holiday cheer in celebration of our accomplishments and ...

    Read More
  • A User's Guide to Healthy Knees

    Healthy knees require continuous motion. However, our generally sedentary lifestyles are at odds with the maintenance of robust knee joint architecture. Left motionless throughout large portions of the day, over time knee cartilage will break down and knee ligaments will become lax. These chronic changes ...

    Read More
  • Detective Story

    When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes applied himself to a difficult case, he famously utilized his powers of deduction. Holmes assembled and examined the facts before him and employed a scientific method of analysis to arrive at a solution that took into account of all the elements of the ...

    Read More
  • Learning From History

    Whether we're driving a car, riding a bike, or trying to record a spare at our local bowling alley, our musculoskeletal system bases its decision-making on past history, that is, what it has learned before. Drawing on years of experience, recorded deep within our muscle memory, we're able to avoid an ...

    Read More
  • A Center for Health

    Mindfulness programs and practices frequently describe a process of locating your "center." One's center may be conceived as a focus of energy, both spiritual and physical, by which all activities may be grounded and from which all activities flow. Similarly, ballet teachers and gymnastics instructors ...

    Read More
  • Wildfire Inside of You

    Comparisons between the inner world and the outer world have been frequently drawn by philosophers, nature writers, and visual artists. For example, "seeing the universe in a grain of sand" is a well-known aphorism. The number of neurons in your brain has been compared to the number of stars in the Milky ...

    Read More
  • Hitting for the Cycle

    In baseball, hitting for the cycle means that a batter hits a single, a double, a triple, and a home run during the same game. Hitting for the cycle is a rare baseball event, occurring about as often as a no-hitter by a pitcher. Certainly, a great deal of skill is involved in accomplishing such a feat. ...

    Read More
  • Find Inspiration in Walden

    In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of the United States' greatest writers, naturalists, and philosophers, not only walked the length and breadth ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup