Op-Ed: Finding the right exercise routines that don’t hurt your bones in the future


Photo: Bike Radar

This article was updated on Nov. 12, 2020 at 12:53 p.m.

The reality is that only exercising is not enough to prevent long-term diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. There needs to be the inclusion of good nutrition with exercise to compliment it. However, there are certain exercises that can help more than others, especially for college students.

It is never too early to start thinking of your future. That couldn’t be more true as college students are battling their way through school in order to achieve their degree and find a career that will sustain them mentally and financially. With all of that happening, physical health can be pushed to the back through these stressful times. And like your career, it is never too early to start thinking about how to help your future self through the exercises you do today. 

David Schilling, physical therapy professor at Utica College, stresses that it is exercising during times like these that will have lasting effects on our bodies especially our brains.

“The benefits occur immediately after a session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity,” Schilling said. “If you exercise regularly the research shows that you could see improvements in trait anxiety, deep sleep and components of executive function including the ability to plan and organize; monitor, inhibit, or facilitate behaviors; initiate tasks, and control emotions. Who couldn’t benefit from some improved brainpower?”

When making the decision to improve one’s physical health, it is important to decide which exercises will efficiently allow someone to achieve long-term health benefits while also enjoying what they are doing. 

Luckily for everyone, there is a wide selection of exercises to choose from including biking, skiing, dancing and running. Despite some studies showing that activities like running and walking cause large wear on bones, they are still up for selection proved by a study done by Paul Williams from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2013.

The study proved that running and walking might not be the best starting point for those looking to make major adjustments for long-term health. But, if one reduces their body mass index and then elects to run, it can actually lower the risk of developing conditions such as osteoarthritis. It further proved that those who ran as a part of their exercise program saw a decreased risk for hip replacement in the future.

Certain studies will favor certain exercises, although the majority will state that a balance of multiple exercises will benefit an individual the most.

“To obtain substantial health benefits, it is recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity,” Schilling said. “It is also recommended that adults should be engaged in muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity that involve major muscle groups on two or more days a week.”

Exercising can be a hard habit to start doing. One thing that can make it a little easier for people is that there is a wide range of choices. At the end of the day, it matters what exercise routine an individual enjoys the most.

“The great thing about these recommendations is that each person can choose a physical activity that they enjoy as it meets the duration and intensity of activity recommendations described,” Schilling said. “If you can find an activity that can be performed at a moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes a week and stay motivated to perform it weekly, you have found the holy grail of exercise for you.”