For many of us this has been a long, hard winter. It can be a challenge to participate in physical activity outside when the weather is severe. I’ve been enjoying the Olympics and am always amazed at the dedication and drive of the Olympic athletes. Perhaps you can use this as motivation to get moving again. According to Center for Disease Control, only about half (48%) of adults get enough aerobic physical activity to improve their health. Aerobic activities like brisk walking, running, swimming and bicycling make you breathe harder and make your heart and blood vessels healthier. I recently started walking inside for 30 minutes each day and have noticed these benefits: improved mood, more energy, less fatigue, and less arthritis discomfort.
What can you do? Get creative and find ways to move more. Here are some suggestions from www.MyPlate.gov
- Walk the mall. If you have an in-door mall, become a mall walker. Join a walking group. A partner can provide support and encouragement. Sometimes it helps to have someone give you the “push” to participate. You will enjoy seeing the store windows and people as you burn calories and exercise in this safe environment.
- Walk inside – our local regional campus has an upstairs walking area with a nice comfortable and safe walking surface. 12 laps around the top and you have walked a mile. You can also measure the minutes you walk. Aim for 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Walk up and down the sidelines while your kids are practicing or playing sports.
- Walk your dog. Make sure you walk for at least 10 minutes to receive health benefits. A walk before and after work brings you 20 minutes closer to a 30 minute daily goal.
- Move to a fitness DVD or play an active fitness game.
- Do stretches, exercises or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.
- View the snow as a physical activity opportunity: shovel your sidewalk or build a snowman.
- At work, sit on an exercise ball for several minutes each day. This will help your posture and strengthen your core.
- Use a fit band and stretch during webinars.
- Stand up while talking on the phone. Standing burns more calories and can re-energize you if you spend a big part of your day sitting behind a desk.
- Take a walk break instead of a coffee break. Walk the stairs at work – perhaps you walk up or down a flight of stairs each time you have to go to the restroom.
How much activity do I need?
Remember that adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week (aim for 30 minutes on 5 days). Also, aim for muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
Get Started and Enjoy the Many Benefits of Physical Activity. The more you move, the more benefits you will experience. For example:
· More Energy
· Improved Sleeping Patterns
· Improved Moods
· Weight Maintenance or Loss
· Improved Self Esteem
· Increase your Chances of Living Longer
· Strong, Healthy Body
· Move Around More Easily
· Improved Metabolism
What benefits do you see when you are physically active? Share your ideas with us in the comments.
Author: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, email@example.com
Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, firstname.lastname@example.org