Physical activity is important for your health and well-being. Compared to adults who are not active, adults who are physically active are less likely to get chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. Physical activity can also help relieve stress and anxiety, boost your energy levels and improve your sleep.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need two and a half hours (150 minutes) of moderate activity each week, such as brisk walking, vacuuming or dancing. The guidelines also recommend doing activities that strengthen your muscles at least two days a week.
Finding time for physical activity can be challenging, but even small changes can make a difference. Try some of these tips to get more active.
Make active choices throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a 10-minute walk during your lunch break, or park further away from work and walk. Try breaking up your activity into 10-minute chunks. Remember, every little bit adds up.
Start slowly and build up over time. Ease yourself into physical activity to prevent injury. Once you have a regular routine, try increasing your weekly active time or the intensity of your activities. Turn a brisk walk into a jog or walk more often.
Be active your way. There are many ways to be active, such as raking, shoveling snow or dancing. Choose activities that you enjoy and fit your lifestyle.
Plan activities with others. Join a walking group or attend fitness activities at your local community center. Start a weekly activity challenge at work or with friends. Plan fun activities to do with your kids. Winter is the perfect season to try sledding, skating or playing games in the snow.
By committing to increasing your physical activity, you will not only “add years to your life, but life to your years!” Visit flesny.org for more tips on being an active family.
Maggie McHugh is a senior nutritionist with Finger Lakes Eat Smart NY at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County.