Moving More — Let’s Get Physical

by Jody Daily, RD, CDE

bigstock-Female-Walking-Outdoors-In-Run-48089690We have all been told time and time again, the importance of including exercise in our daily activities.  Exercise helps you manage blood sugar, blood pressure, counteracts obesity, increases muscle strength, lowers the risk for heart disease, improves self esteem and much more.  Yet so many of us are still sedentary!  Why?  If you could turn all of your excuses for not exercising into reasons to exercise your health would be profoundly impacted!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to train like an athlete.  Just begin by adding more steps to your day.  As the weeks and months go by you will become more physically fit to try other activities or increase the intensity/duration of your current exercise regimen.  Keep in mind a complete fitness program incorporates components of  components cardio, that is aerobic continuous rhythmic exercise as well as flexibility and resistance training.  The following suggestions are intended to help you get started or to improve upon your current physical activity.  Think outside of the box and look for creative ways to become more active.

Start with simple walking steps, maybe  10-15 minutes each day.  Try to sneak walking in whenever you get the chance.  For example, the next time that you have a layover at the airport, pull out your walking shoes and take a stroll.  If your children or grandchildren play sport this is the perfect opportunity to take a quick walk while they are warming up for the game.  Walking at the outlet mall, high school track or beach is a nice change from your neighborhood.

For those individuals who are homebound, try walking up and down your hallway 10-15 times or make several trips to the mailbox.  If you enjoy dancing, turn on your favorite tunes and dance to 3 or 4 songs a day.

Get busy with household chores, e.g. mow the lawn, pull weeds, hand wash your car and windows, paint a room.  All of this stretching and twisting benefits your body.

Every time a TV commercial comes on is your chance to do some leg lifts, squats, lunges, jumping jacks or walk around the room.

Stairs are a great way to get in some easy cardio exercise.  Ascending stairs for 3-5 minutes at a time and including calf raises will provide for a great beginner workout.

Use half of your lunch hour and break times to walk.  Pack a workout t-shirt, shoes and towel and off you go!

Resistance training using exercise bands or light weights to improve muscle tone and strength is inexpensive and worthwhile

Taking little stretch breaks throughout  the day will gradually improve your flexibility.ou

For those of you who enjoy enjoy high tech gadgets or own a smart phone try using the free Nike training or Nike Run App.  Fitbit and Nike Fuel Bands can be worn around the wrist to measure steps, calories, intensity of exercise and much more.

Whatever your preference there is something for everyone!  Put a little thought into how you will incorporate exercise into your life.  Keep in mind that lean muscle burns more calories than fat.  So lets get physical and start building lean muscle and better health.