Now that the song “Move it” from the movie “Madagascar” is playing in your head, let’s find out just how accurate this advice is.
What Are The Benefits of Exercise?
Regular exercise not only helps with weight loss; it also helps to improve your mood, strengthens your bones, lowers your risk of certain cancers and heart disease, helps you to sleep better, and more.
To improve your odds of incorporating regular exercise into your schedule, find activities you enjoy. While that sounds like simple advice, how many of us have forced ourselves to partake in an exercise program? So dance, garden, hike, swim, bike, jump rope, do yoga, chase the kids around the park, roller skate, or rock-climb. Find activities that you enjoy and do them. Have fun!
Is 30 to 60 Minutes of Daily Exercise Enough?
If you are exercising 30 minutes per day, pat yourself on the back. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, less than 5% of adults exercise 30 minutes per day.
An exercise plan which includes the four types of exercise (Cardio/Aerobic, Strength/Resistance, Flexibility/Stretching, and Balance) is important, but more is needed to counterbalance hours of sitting: regular movement.
The reason to focus on regular movement throughout the day is that many of us are spending more time being sedentary (desk jobs with long hours, sitting in the car for longer commutes, then finishing the day by collapsing on the couch to watch our favorite shows).
Our bodies are designed to move, not sit still for hours on end. Shilpa P. Saxena, MD in her articles “Movement, Exercise, and Long-Term Health” states, “Increasing research supports that sedentary behavior should be viewed as a separate and additional risk factor for chronic disease development, specifically the development of coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes. So even though daily exercise should be commended, we must inquire further to ensure the risks of the office chair do not unknowingly fuel vascular and metabolic risks long term.”
So while taking a morning run is an awesome way to start the day, we need to make sure that we are regularly getting out of our chairs during the day. Stop sitting all day at our desks and in our cars and move it!
5 Ways to Add Movement Throughout Your Day
Recurring Calendar Reminders
On your work calendar, set a reminder at each hour to move. This could be as simple as pacing your office or cubicle while on a call, stretching your arms over your head, or rolling your shoulders away from your ears. Walking during your lunch and not just eating at your desk would help your productivity and your heart.
Drink Enough Water
If you are drinking the correct amount of water (such as 8 eight-ounce glasses), you will have to leave your desk regularly to empty your bladder. Just saying.
Housekeeping and Errands
While not necessarily on the list of preferred activities for most of us, these are activities most of us do regularly. Put on fun music and clean the house at a brisk pace. Do deep squats while putting away pots and pans. Take the stairs or park further away when running errands.
Walk the Dog
If you have a dog, commit to daily walks (come rain or shine). Both you and your pet will benefit from the walks.
Lap the Field
If you take your kids to their sports practices, instead of sitting in the car or in the stands during the practice, bring your running shoes and lap the field.
You will be amazed at how better you feel after you add regular movement to your day. Your future self will thank you for moving it!
To your health.
Dianne Hinton NP, PA, IFM-C