Physical Activity is one of the most popular self-care topics people will choose to focus on as they create their Personal Health Plans (PHPs).  This overview focuses on the benefits of physical activity and ways to support people who want to increase their activity levels.  It highlights the latest research related to exercise and other forms of activity, and it specifically discusses the potential roles of yoga (and yoga therapy), tai chi, Pilates, walking, and running.  Physical Activity can improve flexibility, balance, and coordination, as well as strength and endurance.  Even a few extra minutes of activity each day has potential benefits.

  • Physical activity is beneficial for a multitude of health issues, and it is one of the most powerful approaches to prevention we have as well.
  • When starting an activity program, a person should take their current level of fitness into account.  If a person is at risk or has not been active recently, they should see a provider before they begin a new activity plan.
  • Mindful awareness can be helpful when it comes to physical activity.  Tuning into the body is a common way to cultivate mindful awareness, and this helps people to both tune into any symptoms they might have as well as to focus on what feels most helpful when it comes to various forms of activity.
  • There are many different forms of yoga.  Hatha yoga, which involves various body positions, is one of the most familiar in the West.  This approach has the benefits seen with other forms of physical activity and may have others as well, particularly in terms of cultivating mindful awareness.  It seems to be helpful to people with nonspecific low back pain, cardiovascular disease, mental health, type 2 diabetes, and perhaps PTSD.
  • Tai chi and qi gong involve (among other aspects) gentle movements that are performed in a very specific way.  They also show a number of potential health benefits, especially in terms of fall prevention and improved balances.
  • It is helpful to become familiar with various resources you can share with patients on this topic, including various apps and websites.

Please see the downloads section for more detailed clinician and patient information.

Disclaimer: This information is for general education. Please work with your health care practitioner to use it in the best way possible to promote your health.