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Posts Tagged ‘physical activity’

"If you want to reach your goals, you must shrink the size of your but." - Toby Mac #speaklife

July was a big month for me. After evaluating and reflecting on my personal wellness in a blog post in June, I decided it was time to act. Motivated in part by the meme pictured above, which I initially saw on a friend’s social media page, I knew it was time to stop making excuses for my lack of inactivity and re-invest in my personal well-being.

In June, I had identified coping with stress as a priority area for my overall wellness. I knew I needed to either resume an exercise routine (my former go-to method for coping with stress) or identify an alternative stress coping strategy. I decided to resume exercising, and I set a SMART goal for myself to re-establish a routine. 

A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. My goal was to attend at least one fitness class for a week for a month. This goal was:

Specific – I stated what I wanted to accomplish.

Measurable – At the end of the month, I could tell whether I had achieved my goal by looking at my fitness class attendance.

Attainable – Because I did not have a current routine when I set this goal, I started small by challenging myself to attend just one class a week.

Realistic – In setting this goal, I knew I had the time and financial resources to attend fitness classes at a convenient location for me.

Timely – My goal was for the coming month.

I am proud to say that I met my goal, and now I am working toward a new goal of attending two or more fitness classes each week this month!

Before setting and achieving this goal, I was not entirely inactive; I used resistance bands and my own body weight to do simple strength training exercises while at work, and I took walks around my neighborhood when I was able. But, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, while some physical activity is better than none, engaging in moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is key to experiencing substantial health benefits.

Regular moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity:

  1. Reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes such as coronary heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, diabetes, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease; and  
  2. Promotes brain health by reducing anxiety and depression risk while improving sleep quality and overall quality of life.

The guidelines state that the benefits of physical activity generally outweigh the risk of adverse outcomes or injury. However, if you are starting a new physical activity routine, make sure to choose types of activity that are appropriate for your current fitness level, knowing that you can increase your activity over time to meet your goals. If you have a chronic condition and/or are unsure about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for you, take time to consult with a health care provider before setting a goal or beginning a routine.

Sources:

Stanford BeWell. Achieving your SMART health goal. https://bewell.stanford.edu/achieving-your-smart-health-goal/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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telomere

When my sister-in-law turned 50, my family flew out to Arizona to help her celebrate. She warned us when we took our suitcases into the bedrooms to not leave our tennis shoes out in the open because her cat liked to chew on shoelaces. I forgot after the first couple of days and left my shoes on the floor. The next time I put them on, the laces snapped in half where they had been chewed and I had to tie my shoes with about one inch of shoelace.

The reason I’m sharing this story is because it’s a metaphor for what happens when we don’t follow exercise guideline advice. Have you heard the term “telomeres” before? Ten years ago, three American scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for their discoveries about telomeres. Telomeres are caps on the ends of our DNA strands (chromosomes).

Chromosomes hold our DNA, and the ends of them, called telomeres, help keep the chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other. Chromosomes are like our shoelaces, and telomeres are like the plastic tips on the end. Every time one of your cells divides, the telomere gets shorter. When telomeres get too short and cannot be repaired (like my shoelaces), chromosomes fray and the cells can no longer divide.

This shortening process is associated with aging, cancer, and a higher risk of death. However, it turns out that we may have more control over our telomeres than we think. Lifestyle is an important determinant of telomere length and telomerase activity. The more exercise people get, the less their cells seem to age.

How to keep your telomeres lengthened.

Simple answer? Exercise regularly. Spring is the perfect time to refresh your exercise routine. You don’t have to worry about extreme cold, snow or ice. 30 minutes daily will provide you with younger looking telomeres. It’s still not clear what level of exercise intensity is required to yield the best results.

Recent studies show that higher levels of physical activity or exercise are related to longer telomere length. This relationship is particularly evident in older individuals, which suggests the role physical activity can play in combating the aging process.

Bottom line.

This complex field is still in its infancy, with more unknowns than knowns. So far, the findings reinforce commonsense advice about a healthy lifestyle— not smoking, exercising regularly, controlling stress, and having a healthy diet.

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/09/108886/lifestyle-changes-may-lengthen-telomeres-measure-cell-aging

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/preventive-care/article/aging-what-telomeres-can-tell

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5546536/

https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/telomeres/

 

 

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It is the season where many of us are spending hours (or even days) at a ball park or sports field. You may be there for yourself, your spouse, or more likely with your children or grandchildren. But have you planned ahead to keep yourself and your loved ones protected from the sun, insects, or unsafe equipment?

Start by being aware of your surroundings – did you park under a light? Can you safely move from your car to the field or diamond? There are often prime parking spots that allow for safer trips back and forth from the car, you may need to arrive early to get one. Are there places to sit like bleachers that are in good repair, or do you need to bring your own chair or cushion? Are there close bathroom facilities or a drinking fountain?

If the child in your life is playing a sport, make sure to check the league equipment and safety rules before you sign them up. There may be equipment you need toKids playing baseball order, or rules about the number of innings they can play or things like a pitch count. Kidshealth.org offers a great start to sports safety lists for a number of organized sports as well as bike riding.

Here is a list of a few things that can make your next outdoor trip to a park, field, or diamond a more pleasant experience:

  • Avoid ticks and mosquitoes by covering up and using an insect repellent. When you get home do a body check to insure that ticks are removed before they can embed into your skin and shower within two hours. The Environmental Protection Agency has an interactive chart to help you select the right insect repellent.
  • Practice sun safety with wide brimmed hats, and waterproof sunscreen that is 30 – 50 SPF and can be reapplied every 2 hours. Check the expiration date on the bottle. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
  • Ensure proper hydration by drinking about 2 cups of cool water before you hit the field, and then continuing to drink during time-outs and halftime, and following up with re-hydrating after the activity is finished. Sports drinks are not necessary for most athletes, good old tap water works for most of us with less cost and calories too.
  • If your outdoor time includes a pool or beach – make sure lifeguards or trusted adults are always watching children. Enforce water rules – “No diving means, No diving.”
  • Check any playground equipment to ensure that it is in good condition and not too hot to burn the tender skin of young children.

By practicing these safety tips, your trip to the ballpark or field can be a hit!

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm, https://www.cdc.gov/bam/safety/cool.html.

United State Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County

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Exercise has some amazing benefits. It can boost your mood, sharpen your focus, reduce your stress, and improve your sleep. So let’s get moving. Did you know that all activity counts? It all adds up. Adults need to shoot for 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity and 2 muscle-strengthening activities each week. What is moderate intensity aerobic activity? Anything that gets your heart beating faster. Even short bursts of physical activity can add up to a healthy lifestyle. What’s your favorite way to move? Walk, clean, shop, arm circles, gardening, dance, hike… it all adds up.

Health.gov offers an activity planner to help you plan your physical activity for the week. If you’re just starting out, pick an activity you enjoy and take it slow and easy. Once you get the hang of it, you can build on it — or try something new. Find an activity you really enjoy — whether it’s soccer or swimming, biking or ballet. You can have fun, let off steam, and stay fit at the same time.

Do you have a disability, chronic condition, or injury?

Don’t let a limitation become a barrier to exercise. There are lots of ways you can adapt activities to work for you. Health.gov has compiled a page of exercise resources for people with special conditions.

picture of man and girl walking in woods

Parents: Get your kids moving too

Kids need exercise too. In fact, they need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day. They also need muscle-strengthening (climbing and swinging on monkey bars) and bone-strengthening activities (weight-bearing like running and jumping) during the week. Encourage your kids to play actively with friends. Give rewards for active chores. Or move together… go for a walk, dance, or play an active game with your kids.

Need help getting motivated?

Feeling tired can be a barrier to starting exercise, but knowing that exercise can actually boost your energy is a great motivator. This two-minute video shares ideas for getting motivated and tips for getting started with exercise.

Move Your Way Logo with people doing various activities on top of MOVE

  1. Set yourself up for success. Get workout clothes out before you need them. Plan time in your schedule for your activity.
  2. Find an activity buddy. If you don’t feel motivated to exercise alone, friends can make it more fun.
  3. Make a pledge. Share your pledge with a friend or online, and you’re more likely to make it stick.
  4. Set small goals. Five minutes of exercise is a nice, small goal to start with. Something is better than nothing. Start small and work up from there

So what’s your move?

Sources:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Move Your Way Campaign. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2019. https://health.gov/moveyourway/

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County

 

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man and woman in business attire out for a walk

One of my new year’s resolutions for 2019 is to move more. I know that to be successful with my goal, I am going to have to incorporate physical activity into my 8 hour work day. Sitting for hours every day depletes my energy and leaves me feeling sluggish.

Being more physically active can reduce coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Other benefits of being more active include more energy, better sleep, a more active mind, and less stress. These are all beneficial, especially to my professional career, but again, it’s my job every day that is providing the most periods of sitting or sedentary behavior. This is problematic as research has called sitting “the new smoking”, and long periods of sitting have been linked to early death.

With a little effort and creative thinking, I was able to find some ways every day to accomplish my goal and work more physical activity into my time at work. Here are a few ideas to try:

Incorporate What You Like to do in Small Ways at Work: I take a barre class twice a week. In class, we use light weights and a small playground ball. I purchased an extra set for my office, so when I feel the need to move, I can grab them and do a few moves. If barre isn’t for you, grab a yoga ball to sit on, or bring in equipment you use and are familiar with.

Involve Your Office: Chances are good there is someone else in your office with a similar goal. Ask your coworkers to join you, or look for an office challenge to participate in. An office challenge can have the benefits of increasing physical activity, building office unity, and usually will provide an incentive. You could also suggest standing office meetings, which can provide an opportunity for activity but also help increase the productivity of meetings. Standing meetings can be up to 25% shorter than standard meetings!

Incorporate Physical Activity into Breaks or Lunch: Taking a walk during a break or planning to spend part of your lunch walking or taking an exercise class can be beneficial when trying to increase physical activity.

Walk or Ride Your Bike to Work: Consider starting your commute with some physical activity, if you live close enough to work to do so. If walking or riding isn’t an option, try parking a little farther away to increase your activity before and after work.

Consider Your Day: Can you walk over to a coworker instead of sending an email? Is walking and dropping a letter in the mailbox an option instead of adding it to the mail pile? Could you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Be aware of your daily habits and look for opportunities to include activity in the things you do every day.

Set a Timer: Consider setting a timer or alarm reminding you to stand up and stretch or go for a quick walk at certain points throughout the day. If you have a standing desk, use a timer to remind you to use your desk.

Need more ideas to stay active during your workday? Take a look at these exercises you can do from your office, and comment below with whatever strategies you might add to the list!

 

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed By: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

 

Sources:

American Cancer Society (2018). Staying Active at Work. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/tips-for-staying-active-at-work.html

John Hopkins Medicine. Risks of Physical Inactivity. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/risks_of_physical_inactivity_85,p00218

Lobb, J. (2018). Work it at Work. Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/05/03/work-it-at-work/

Medline Plus. Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle. https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html

Remley, D. (2016). Take a Stand Against Sitting. Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/06/08/take-a-stand-against-sitting/

Rini, J. (2015). Workplace Wellness Trend: Standing Desks. https://livehealthyosu.com/2015/08/13/workplace-wellness-trend-standing-desks/

Taparia, N. (2014). Kick the Chair: How Standing Cut Our Meeting Times by 25%. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2014/06/19/kick-the-chair-how-standing-cut-our-meeting-times-by-25/#7ea9900535fe

 

 

 

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Image result for picking up litter

I’m starting to think I have some Swedish blood/genealogy connection thing going on because every time I read about a new trend originating from that country, I realize I’m already doing it.

The first time was when I wrote about Swedish death cleaning, which is the process of minimizing your possessions so your children won’t have to deal with tons of stuff after you die. I’ve been in a decluttering phase for the past two years.

Then in April I read an article about “plogging,” which is essentially the process of working out and picking up trash at the same time. News flash:  I get irate when I see litter.  It drives me nuts that people throw their trash outside instead of holding onto it until they (1) see a trash receptacle or (2) wait until they get home to dispose of it.

Maybe it was watching that commercial as a kid of a Native American Indian crying over litter (it was a public service advertisement for Keep America Beautiful), but I have always been a stickler for picking up trash. For many Americans, the Crying Indian became a symbol of environmental idealism.

Now Sweden’s latest fitness craze — plogging — is making its way to U.S. shores. The term is a mix of words combining jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp,” which means to “pick up.” In this case, litter. I have been “plogging” for years when I walk; as a matter of fact it is a family thing that my parents and I have been doing for over 25 years.

Plogging is not a hard activity to incorporate into your exercise routine if you are a runner or walker (although walking makes it a little easier to grab trash). I bought one of those “grabber” devices at an estate sale years ago, and have since picked up an extra one.

I can usually find one for a dollar or so at an estate sale or garage sale.  They are generally found in the homes of elderly people who at some point needed a tool to help them reach into high places in their closets or cupboards.

Technically, you don’t need to use a grabber; you can just bend down and pick up the piece of trash. It will give you a better workout if you do it that way (like doing squats). I do recommend wearing some type of work glove, though.

When I get ready to go out for my walk, I grab a heavy vinyl “trash” bag, my grabber, and set off. If I see litter on the street or in the grass, I cinch it with my grabber and drop it into the bag.

Quiz question:  Anyone want to guess what I pick up most (not counting cigarette butts)?  Answer at the end of the article.

On any given day I can easily fill two bags with trash; even more so the day after garbage day. I know where all the trash cans in town are located, so I can empty my bag if I need to when it gets full.

Plogging is a win/win for you and your community–you get the benefits of a daily workout and your community looks pristine. Additionally, you might find something of value. I’ve found both a $10 and $5 dollar bill on the street, as well as tons of change. But the biggest reward is just doing something of value for yourself (exercise) and the community.

Quiz Answer:  Empty cigarette packs and beverage containers (water, pop, beer, etc).

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

 

Sources:

https://www.adcouncil.org/Our-Campaigns/The-Classics/Pollution-Keep-America-Beautiful-Iron-Eyes-Cody

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/02/23/plogging-is-the-swedish-fitness-craze-for-people-who-want-to-save-the-planet-its-making-its-way-to-the-u-s/?utm_term=.6ea8afdeb9a0

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How much physical activity do you get each week?

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the average adult needs at least:

150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity physical activity each week (i.e. aerobic or “cardio” activity that gets you breathing harder and makes your heart beat faster)

OR

75 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week (i.e. aerobic or “cardio” activity that makes your heart rate and breathing increase to a point where it is difficult to talk)

Moderate Intensity Physical Activity examples: Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking), water aerobics, bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour, tennis (doubles), ballroom dancing, general gardening. Vigorous Intensity Physical Activity Examples: race walking, jogging or running; swimming laps, tennis (singles), aerobic dancing, bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster, jumping rope, heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing), hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack.

That might seem like a lot of time to spend being active, but it’s really not! Think about the amount of time you spend watching TV each week. Thirty minutes of activity a day, when performed five days a week, meets the guideline. It is the equivalent of five 30-minute TV shows or one to two movies! And, experts say that those thirty daily minutes of activity can be further broken down into 10 minute segments, yet still help prevent disease and reap health benefits.

If you’re not currently meeting the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, consider incorporating short (10-minute) segments of exercise into your workday. There are many exercises that can be done in your office or from home with no equipment required, such as:woman-2819502_640

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Wall sits
  • Planks
  • Knee raises
  • Standing crunches

If you have a sturdy desk or table, you can also do incline push-ups or triceps dips to work your arms. And, if you have a chair nearby for support, you can do leg raises (forward, backward or sideways), donkey kick-backs, or calf raises. To mix things up a little more, use paper plates as sliders and do additional exercises, such as:

man-2754215_640

  • Mountain climbers
  • Plank jacks
  • Arm circles
  • Standing leg circles
  • Hamstring curls

If you don’t mind working a little harder (i.e. possibly breaking a sweat), either at home or during the workday, you can design your own 10-minute workout using a timing scheme to rotate through a few exercises of your choice. For example, you might choose to do:

  • 45 seconds of an exercise with 15 seconds of rest, repeated 10x (either the same exercise or different ones).
  • 30 seconds of one exercise alternated with 30 seconds of another, repeated 10x.
  • An exercise ladder where you choose two exercises (A & B). Start with 10 repetitions of exercise A followed by 1 repetition of exercise B, working up/down until you end with 1 rep of exercise A and 10 reps of exercise B.

So, next time you think you don’t have enough time in your week to exercise, think again! Strive to incorporate short (10-minute) segments of activity into your day until you achieve at least 150 minutes each week.

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

 

Sources:

2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/summary.aspx.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). How much physical activity do adults need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm.

Moorhead, Rebecca. Work it… At Work: Exercises to Fit Into Your Work Day. Presented on February 14, 2018. Moorhead.41@osu.edu.

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