Eating smart is an important part of good health, but we also need to be physically active. No matter how young or old we are, our bodies benefit from movement, and most of us need more than we usually get. But it doesn’t have to be boring, expensive or time-consuming – it just needs to happen! Think about ways you like to move – activities you enjoy. How can you add these to your day – all through the day? Some physical activity is better than none at all, and your active minutes will add up!
- How much activity do I need?Adults need to be physically active for at least 2 ½ hours during the week (about 30 minutes per day for at least 5 days each week). Even short bursts of activity are healthful, so you don’t need to find extra time. Just work to move more throughout your day!
- What about my kids? Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Active play is normal for most kids, and for good health, children should move and play throughout the day. Think of active rewards instead of sweets or “sit still” motivators – consider a ball or disc in place of a video game. Play outside with your kids – you will both benefit!
Tips for Moving More
- Start low and slow – If you are just getting started, be sure you ease into moving more. You can start with just 10 minutes of activity at a time, then add more time and intensity (think faster, stronger movement) as you get used to moving more.
- Walking works – Adding steps to your day is a great way to move more. Walk in an area that is convenient and where you are comfortable. Do you live near your children’s school? Walk with them to school. Is there a park nearby? You will probably see others out “getting their steps.” Build in a brisk walk over your lunch break – it will add some energy after your meal.
- Look for activities in your community – There are many opportunities out there to help us move more. Often, organizations will sponsor walks or ‘fun runs’ to help raise awareness about issues. Sign up with a friend or family member – it is fun to walk with others. Consider a fitness class offered in your neighborhood – you might discover a fun new way to move that really works for you!
- Seek out ways to move more – Find the stairs, and take them! Be the nice shopper that brings the cart back to the store. Park further from the door, and reward yourself when you need to take extra steps. At work, use the restroom on another floor. Remind yourself to get up and move each hour if possible.
- Build stronger muscles – Yoga, stretch bands and lifting light weights can help build your muscles. Keep hand weights at your desk, or use other weighty objects (maybe books or canned soup) to lift during phone calls. Remember your lower body, too – lunges and squats work legs, thighs and glutes. Try to include strength-building activities at least two days each week.
- Find an active buddy – Maybe it’s your dog, or your neighbor, a co-worker or a family member. Commit to moving more, and find that “action figure” who will support your efforts to stick to your plan. When your motivation drops, your buddy will help you keep moving!
- Be active at any (and every) age – We all benefit from moving more – and it does not require a gym membership or special equipment. You can play with the kids in the yard or discuss current events while walking around the park. Get off the bus one stop early, and build some extra steps into your commute. Check out an exercise video from the library and invite a friend or family member to watch and move with you! Parents, remember to show your kids that you enjoy moving more – you will teach by your example.
Adapted from https://www.bustle.com/articles/157810-11-tips-for-learning-how-to-cook-once-for-all. Accessed August 21, 2019.
Adapted from USDA’s Be Active Today https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/familytime_beactivetoday.pdf. Accessed August 23, 2019.
Fit Facts. Small steps to increase physical activity. Accessed at: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6765/small-steps-to-increase-physical-activity on August 26, 2019.