We all know it’s important to maintain an active lifestyle. Our doctor's are always recommending we keep moving, there is a fitness studio or gym every block or two, most companies have employee wellness programs available, and the list of reasons goes on and on.
So why are we as a society moving less and less?
Technology – Smart Phones, Internet
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.
Video Games / Gaming
Working (more jobs than ever before are performed while sitting for long periods of time)
Commuting/Traveling – sitting in cars, buses, trains, and plains for long periods of time
Running our Kids/Parents Around
Socializing in a sedentary environment (happy hour, family barbecues, out to dinner, movies, coffee houses, etc.)
We don’t feel good, i.e. tired, low energy, overweight and uncomfortable
How does an inactive lifestyle affect your body?
Burn fewer calories, making weight gain more likely
Muscle strength and endurance loss
Loss of bone density
Harder time breaking down fats and sugars
Lower immune system
Poor blood circulation
What are the health risks of an inactive lifestyle?
Having an inactive lifestyle can raise your risk of many chronic diseases.
Heart diseases, including coronary artery disease and heart attack
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Certain cancers, including colon, breast, and uterine cancers
Osteoporosis and falls
Increased feelings of depression and anxiety
****Having a sedentary lifestyle can also raise your risk of premature death. The more sedentary you are, the higher your health risks are.****
How can I get started with exercise?
First and foremost, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you have been inactive, start slowly. You can keep adding more exercise over time. The more you can do, the better. But try not to feel overwhelmed and do what you can. Getting some exercise is always better than getting none. Eventually, your goal can be to get the recommended amount of exercise for your age and health.
There are many different ways to get moving; it is important to find the right types for you. Start by adding activity to your life in small ways, such as at home and at work.
How can I be more active at home?
Here are some ways you can be active around your house:
Housework, gardening, and yard work are all physical work. To increase the intensity, you could try doing them at a more vigorous pace (if you mowed the lawn in 60-minutes last time, try getting it done in 55-minutes this time, etc).
Keep moving while you watch TV. Lift hand weights, do some gentle yoga stretches, or pedal an exercise bike. Instead of using the TV remote, get up and change the channels yourself.
Work out at home with a workout video (on your TV or on the internet, try a YouTube video or app on your smartphone).
Go for a walk in your neighborhood. It can be more fun if you walk your dog, walk your kids to school, or walk with a friend. It's also a great way to get some alone time
Stand up when talking on the phone.
Get some exercise equipment for your home. Treadmills and elliptical trainers are great, but not everyone has the money or space for one. Less expensive equipment such as yoga balls, exercise mats, stretch bands, and hand weights can help you get a workout at home too. “We can help you with a program”!
How can I be more active at work?
Here are some ways to be more active around work:
Most of us sit when we are working, often in front of a computer. In fact, less than 20 percent of Americans have physically active jobs. It can be challenging to fit physical activity into your busy workday, but here are some tips to help you get moving:
Park your personal vehicle as far away from the entrance as possible
Get up from your seat and move around at least once an hour
Stand when you are talking on the phone
Find out whether your company can get you a stand-up or treadmill desk if your an office worker
Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Use your break or part of your lunch time to walk around or inside the building or use your onsite wellness programs and workout rooms
Stand up and walk to a colleague's office instead of sending an email or text
Have "walking" or standing meetings with co-workers instead of sitting in an office or a conference room
How Much Exercise Do I Need?
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. It has many benefits. It can improve your overall health and fitness and reduce your risk for many chronic diseases. To get the most benefit, here's how much physical activity you should get:
Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. Or you could do a combination of the two
Try to spread your physical activity out over several days of the week. That's better than trying to do it all in one or two days.
Some days you may not have long blocks of time to do physical activity. You can try splitting it up into segments of ten minutes or more.
Aerobic activities include walking fast, jogging, swimming, and biking
Moderate intensity means that while you are doing that activity, you should be able to say a few words in a row but not sing
Vigorous intensity means that while you are doing that activity, you won't be able to say more than a few words without stopping for a breath
Also, do strengthening activities twice per week.
Strengthening activities include lifting weights, working with exercise bands, and body weight exercises.
Choose activities that work all the different parts of the body - your legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders, and arms. Reach out for help with a personalized program.
Older adults, pregnant women, and people with chronic health problems:
Older adults, pregnant women, and people who have special health needs should check with their doctor before starting an exercise program.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute