Commit to be Fit

This week is not so much focused on nutrition, but more about how to complement a healthy diet. Whatever your health goals, whether weight loss, maintenance, or for overall health, a healthy diet and exercise are both equally important. Exercise has been linked to many benefits including decreased stress and hypertension, improved blood circulation, strengthening bones and muscle, weight management, decreased LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and improved blood sugar control.

Current recommendations suggest adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This equates to about 30 minutes most days of the week. But what exactly is moderate-intensity exercise? Examples include brisk walking, water aerobics, tennis, or general gardening. A way to determine your intensity is via the “talk test.” If you are doing moderate-intensity activity you should be able to talk, but not sing during the activity.

30 minutes may seem like a lot to fit into an already busy schedule, however this doesn’t have to be all at one time. This time could be broken up into 3-10 minute sessions throughout the day. For those in a business setting, suggest walking meetings, go for a walk on a break, or do the steps for 10 minutes during the day. When out and about, park the car farther away in the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the elevated or escalator. When at home, get up and walk or do exercises during commercials of your favorite show which can easily add up to 10 minutes during a favorite hour-long show.
Think outside of the box when it comes to exercise. In order to get excited and want to do it, exercise or physical activity has to be something enjoyable. Get a pedometer and set a goal for 8,000-10,000 steps/day. Walk a dog, dance, jump rope, do leg lifts, join a fitness class or walking group. Play outside with the kids or grandkids. Find an exercise DVD or app on a phone that has workouts planned out for you for different body parts or types of exercise and length of time. Find a fitness “buddy” that will help keep you on track of your goals. If weight loss is a goal, focus more on how you feel after exercise instead of the number on the scale.

Don’t let the changing season keep you from getting the recommended amount of exercise. During fall, rake leaves, play in a football game, do a corn maze, or go on a hike. Enjoy those last warm days of fall with a brisk walk or jog. During winter, take the stairs indoors, build a snowman, walk at the mall or the hallways at work, go sledding or ice skating, or deep-clean your house. Don’t forget that Upland Hills Health has a fitness walking path you can utilize during these upcoming chilly months.

Start slow and gradually work your way up for exercise. If completely inactive now, set a goal of five minutes three days a week to start and when this becomes easy, either increase in time or the intensity of the exercise. The hardest part is getting started but it will make a huge difference in how you feel and your overall health!

For more information about physical activity and some sample exercise videos visit: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/.

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