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    Aerobic exercise a greater benefit for dental professionals

    Everyone knows exercise has big positives, but what are the specific benefits for dental professionals?

    Exercise regimens should differ slightly depending upon your age. As we grow older, we tend to lose more muscle mass. Therefore, people under age 50 should consider an exercise regimen that consists of a higher percentage of aerobic exercise and smaller percentage of strength training.  After age 50, the percentage of time spent strength training should be greater than aerobic exercise.

    Studies show that a regular aerobic exercise regimen: 

    • makes your body more efficient at healing microtrauma that occurs day-to-day in your operatory
    • can decrease painful muscle ischemia by improving blood, oxygen and nutrient flow to working muscles
    • helps the body cope with anxiety/mental stress
    • increases brain volume
    • prevents musculoskeletal dysfunction
    • improves memory
    • decreases mortality from heart-related disease
    • helps with weight loss
    • decreases depression
    • helps manage diabetes, pregnancy and aging

    Aerobic exercise

    More from the author: Why all exercise is not necessarily good exercise for dentists

    To be considered aerobic, an exercise must utilize oxygen to maintain a heart rate for a prolonged period of time through rhythmic and regular joint movement of the large muscle groups. The three primary goals of an aerobic conditioning program are to: 

    1. improve efficiency of the heart and lungs,
    2. develop functional capacity of central circulation
    3. increase blood flow to the working muscles

    In addition, aerobic exercise may decrease muscle imbalances of the neck and shoulders by encouraging correct use of the diaphragm and other primary respiratory muscles while maintaining excellent posture during exercise. Proper diaphragmatic breathing will help relax scalene and anterior neck musculature with aerobic activity.

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    Dr. Bethany Valachi, PT, MS, CEAS
    Dr. Bethany Valachi, PT, DPT, MS, CEAS is DPR’s ergonomics editor and author of the book,“Practice Dentistry Pain-Free” and clinical ...


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