Did you know that May is National Physical Fitness Month? Regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health, and people of all ages and body types can be physically active. National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active.
The benefits of physical activity are endless, but here are a few for all ages:
Children and adolescents – Physical activity can improve muscular fitness, bone health, and heart health.
Adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Older adults – Physical activity can lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning (like learning and judgment skills).
If you’re interested in getting active, walking is a great start. It’s easy, and it works. Walking is the simplest way to start and continue a fitness journey. It also costs nothing to get started, is easy, and safe. Walking for as few as thirty minutes a day provides heart health benefits. As one of the most effective forms of exercise to achieve heart health, walking is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Keep in mind that walking isn’t your only option. There are many things you can do wherever you are to get your fitness in for the day. You’d be surprised at all the opportunities to increase your physical activity every day.
Fitness at Home
It is usually convenient, comfortable, and safe to work out at home. It allows your children to see you being active, which of course sets a great example for them. You can combine exercise with other activities, such as watching TV. If you buy exercise equipment, it’s a one-time expense and other family members can use it. It is easy to have short bouts of activity several times a day.
Here are some other tips to get you started:
- Do housework yourself instead of hiring someone else to do it.
- Work in the garden or mow the grass. Using a riding mower does not count, though. Rake leaves, prune, dig, and pick up trash.
- Go out for a short walk before breakfast, after dinner, or both! Start with 5-10 minutes and then work your way up to 30 minutes.
- Walk or bike to the corner store instead of driving.
- When walking, pick up the pace from leisurely to brisk. Choose a hilly route. When watching television, sit up instead of lying on the sofa. You could also stretch. Better yet, spend a few minutes pedaling on your stationary bike while watching TV. Throw away your video remote control.
- Stand up and/or walk while talking on the telephone.
- Walk the dog.
- Park farther away at the shopping mall and walk the extra distance. Wear your walking shoes, and sneak in an extra lap or two around the mall.
- Stretch to reach items in high places and squat or bend to look at times at floor level.
- Keep the exercise equipment repaired…and use it!
Fitness at Work
Many of us have sedentary jobs, and work takes up a significant part of our day. What can you do to increase your activity during the work day? Here are some great tips:
- Brainstorm project ideas with a coworker while taking a walk.
- Create an exercise accountability partnership.
- Walk during business calls when you don’t need to reference important documents.
- Stand while talking on the telephone.
- Walk down the hall to speak to someone instead of talking on the phone.
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator if possible. An alternative is to get off of the elevator a few floors early and finish up the stairs.
- Waiting for a flight out of the airport? Walk around while waiting.
- Stay at hotels that have fitness centers or swimming pools, and use them while on business trips.
- Take along a jump rope or a resistance band in your suitcase when you travel. Jump, or do calisthenics in your hotel room.
- Download some audio fitness coaching.
- Participate in or start a recreation league at your company.
- Form a sports team to raise money for charity events.
- Join a fitness center or YMCA near your job. Work out before or after work to avoid rush-hour traffic, or drop by for a noon workout.
- Schedule exercise time on your business calendar and treat it as any other important appointment.
- Get off of the bus a few blocks early, and walk the rest of the way to work or home.
- Walk around your building for a break during the workday, or during lunch.
- If you work at home, get a stand-up desk.
When you get creative about it, finding time to work physical activity into your life isn’t as difficult as it might seem at first. In addition to staying active, an important part of being healthy is to visit the doctor regularly. Schedule an appointment with Brevard Health Alliance today!