More Americans feel impact of declining fitness levels; Sanford POWER trainers said it’s possible to build back routines

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - We’ve all heard the phrase “use it or lose it” but what does that mean in the realm of exercise? A National Library of Medicine study reports that almost one-third of US adults experienced decreased physical activity during the pandemic. And the CDC reports that, still, American adults aren’t getting enough exercise.

Trainers say it’s common for them hear someone say, ‘I used to be in great shape before I took this job,’ or ‘before I had this injury.’

“I had an injury in high school that really set me back. You know, I had to miss some sports and that was really devastating for me. And so, for me, it was the baby steps. For me it was annoying because I like to see progress right away, but that’s not how fitness works,” said Joshua Lardy, intern at Sanford POWER.

Simply put, deconditioning is when your strength decreases with less activity. In the short-term, trainers say you might not notice much change, but in the long-term, declining activity can negatively affect your body, impacting muscles, including muscular organs like the heart, bone density, and metabolism, among other things.

“The longer you’re away the harder it is to get back into things,” said Chris Rivinius, manager for Sanford POWER.

Rivinius says when you approach training again, it’s important to do it safely. He says starting small can help prevent injury.

“The biggest thing is having process goals and doing more than you’re currently doing. Think of it, not trying to have pun intended, think of it more like a marathon than a sprint when you’re trying to get back into shape,” said Rivinius.

At Sanford’s POWER gym in Bismarck, he demonstrates some moves like squats, RDLs, hinging at the hips and push-pull movements that help build strength, stabilization, and mobility. He says keeping good form is key to injury-prevention, especially when your body has taken some time off. Exercising at the gym is not the only place to start.

“Just do more than you’re currently doing right now. Find something that fits in your everyday lifestyle. Find something that you enjoy,” said Rivinius.

Whether you love hitting the gym.

“It’s just kind of an escape. It’s a mental release for me,” added Lardy

If you prefer other methods of movement, trainers say to give yourself grace and don’t compare yourself to what you see online.

“In American culture everything’s fast, we like quick fixes. We want everything right now. But if you’re going to do it right and it’s going to be habits you adopt long term, think more baby changes over the course of time,” said Rivinius.

Rivinius says if you’re trying to put on muscle, it takes six to eight weeks to see measurable changes in body composition.

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