Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York’s What’s Your Move? campaign celebrates national physical fitness and sports month. During the month of May, we challenge all adults to get active every day. Any activity counts and it all adds up!
Did you know physical activity can help you feel better right away? Besides helping you maintain a healthy weight, physical activity can boost your mood, sharpen your focus, reduce your stress and improve your sleep. And over time, physical activity can help you live a longer, healthier life. Physical activity lowers your risk of diseases like Type 2 diabetes and some cancers, and it helps to control your blood pressure.
Now that you know the benefits of physical activity, how do you get started? Move more and sit less throughout the day! Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.
For further health benefits, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week. Adults also need to incorporate muscle-strengthening activities into their routine at least two days a week. How do you know if it’s moderate or vigorous activity? Try the “talk test” to find out! When you’re being active, just try talking. If you’re breathing hard but can still have a conversation easily, it’s moderate intensity. If you can only say a few words before you have to take a breath, it’s vigorous intensity.
Here are some ideas for including more physical activity into your life.
Start activities slowly and build up over time. If you are just starting to increase physical activity, build up slowly. This will help to prevent injury. After a few weeks, increase how often and how long you are active.
Chores count, too! Clean the house, wash the car or mow the lawn with a push mower. Know that these activities count toward your goal of at least 150 minute each week.
Make active choices throughout the day. Every little bit of activity can add up and doing something is better than nothing. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a 10-minute walk on your lunch break, or park further away from work and walk.
Visit every week to see nine new physical activity ideas. And for even more fun, take part in Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York’s Instagram challenge. Simply post a 10-15 second video showing your move with the hashtag #whatsyourmoveny and your video will appear at
Maggie McHugh is a senior nutritionist with Finger Lakes Eat Smart NY at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County.