Most of us are in the habit of sitting a good part of the day – a habit that is not good for us. Our bodies are meant to move, and when we stay active we can improve our mood, health and quality of life.
We don’t have to be serious athletes to reap the benefits of physical activity. By starting new habits and adding physical activity into our day in small ways, we can feel better. It helps to have a goal, then commit to small steps to get there.
Try these ideas:
Attitude: Physical activity helps us feel better, which can boost our outlook and confidence to deal with challenges during the day.
Emotional balance: Being stressed or having feelings of anxiety can make us want to scream or act out in some way. Physical activity is a great way to cool off and sort through problems.
Energy: By switching from inactive to active, we get our heart rate up, we breathe deeper, and we perk up our energy level. More energy helps us deal with the demands of home, work and other duties.
Feel better: Doing different types of physical activities can build strong muscles, bones, and healthy joints so we feel good all day long. Being active can also boost endorphins, a chemical in the brain that makes us feel happy.
Mental alertness: Physical activity tunes up our mental reflexes so we can process information better.
Safety: A “well-tuned” body helps us be ready for the unexpected, as well as recover quickly from accidents, injuries, and illnesses.
Sleep: An active day sets the stage for a good night’s sleep.
Weight control: Physical activities that burn calories and turn up our metabolism can play a bigger role than diet in weight loss.
For more information on the different types of physical activities, click here.
1. Set a goal. It helps to have a fitness goal, and then commit to small steps to get there.
2. Begin slowly. For example, decide to take a ten-minute walk on three days this week, and then increase the time or number of days, as you are able.
3. Record your progress. Use a calendar, log sheet, website or phone app to keep track of your activity. This is a great way to stay on track.
4. Choose activities that you enjoy. If you push yourself to do things you don’t enjoy, it will make it hard to get excited about physical activity.
5. Have a back-up plan. For example, have an indoor activity plan for bad weather days.
6. Get support from family and friends. People who care about you can encourage and help you reach your goals.
There are lots of great resources to motivate and help us!
“The Best Medicine” by Dr. Mike Evans
Let’s Move: America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids
US Dept. of Health & Human Services – National Institutes of Health “We Can”