I want you to think about exercise as a drug. It’s probably one of the most under-utilized drugs out there. It helps with treat issues from sarcopenia to depression. From frailty to diabetes. However, just like a drug, there are dangers from over or under-dosing exercise.

We all are familiar with some of the dangers of over-dosing exercise; you can get hurt or become ill as is the case with Rhabdomyolysis.

But what if you are under-dosing exercise? How do you know if you are under-dosing exercise?

If you are like many of our senior fitness personal training clients when they start, you aren’t doing much if any exercise-so you’re probably under-dosed. However, if you are an older adult and currently exercise, but aren’t seeing the results you need or want, that’s another indication you are probably under-dosing exercise as well.

As with drugs, exercise has a very distinct dose-response. Here’s how to tell if you’re dosage is correct.

Why You Aren’t Seeing Results (Under-Dosing)

Just like any drug, you can over and under-dose. Overdosing a drug can kill you, so can under-dosing. Think of an antibiotic. If you don’t take enough, whatever gumbo you’ve got-it might just kill you. When talking about over-dosing exercise this is when you get hurt or injured, or over-train. However, most of us don’t recognize the effects of under-dosing exercise.

Years ago, I was walking behind two women walking into work. They were complaining about how ‘tough’ their morning workout out was, and how exhausted they were, and how they were sure to have burned thousands of calories and this was going to help their weight loss. All this was done will drinking a soda drink larger than 32 oz and each holding 3 giant bags stuffed from Carls Jr. Bad news, that ‘really hard workout’ isn’t going to out-do the calories there were currently consuming.

Frequency

There are other ways you sabotage your fitness goals and fitness results by under-dosing your exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends when it comes to resistance training, that you work each major muscle group each week.

However, there are other factors beyond just this frequency.

Dosage/intensity

If you have a raging headache and only take 5 mg of Tylenol it isn’t going to do a thing for your headache. If you aren’t hitting the right intensity (dosage) of your exercise/workout you will not see results. There is a reason why you can’t just get any drug in any dosage right over the counter. Many you need a prescription. That is why all of our older adult personal training clients have their own individual programs.

You don’t share your prescription meds, why should you share your exercise prescription?

Having a professional can help you know the intensity you should have to get the results and still keep you safe.

Type

Tylenol isn’t a cure all. You don’t take it if you’ve had an organ transplant-you take anti-rejection meds.

However, why is it that when asked if you workout, almost everyone defaults to saying they walk or do the elliptical. That’s only ONE TYPE of exercise, and while beneficial it is in NO WAY a catch-all for your physical activity needs. If you want to be fast and powerful, like a sprinter, train like a sprinter-not a marathoner.

If you want to prevent and reverse sarcopenia and other age-related illness seniors face, you’ve got to do the right type of exercises. Having a professional (this is NOT your medical doctor!!!!!!!!) can help you navigate what is appropriate and not.

Observation/Follow-Up

When you take drugs prescribed from a medical doctor, they will usually follow-up with you during your next appointment to make sure the drugs are working correctly. When you work out on your own, it is often difficult to determine if what you are doing is working. Working with a fitness coach helps solve this because they are seeing you several times a week and month so they can ascertain if the frequency, dosage and type are correct.

 

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