Consistent physical activity and fitness are the cornerstones for a health life and the well-being of individuals of all ages. Whether you are involved in a vigorous exercise routine or participate in a moderate health-enhancing physical activity, all individuals can experience the value from regular physical activity. Maintaining an active lifestyle is not as daunting as you may think. Simple modifications to your established routine can help you control your weight, increase flexibility, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, all while improving your mental health and making you look and feel your best.
Though physical activity is known to produce favorable health benefits, the majority of adults and children lead a fairly inactive lifestyle. Categorized as a sedentary activity level, these adults and children engage in little to no leisure-time physical activity, such as sports, workouts, or physically active hobbies, during a 2-week period. This indicates how crucial it is to alter your current activity level, if currently sedentary, to avoid suffering health consequences.
Being active does not require joining a fitness center. According to the American Heart Association, walking should be your first step and it is the easiest to incorporate into your daily routine. It is a safe, simple, and cost-free activity that can be integrated into your work and home life. Being active at home sets a good example for your children on how to be more active in their lives. The American Heart Association recommends the following tips to achieve a more active lifestyle at home:
- Begin with 5-10 min walks before breakfast or after dinner and work up to 30 minutes.
- Complete housework on your own instead of using hired help.
- Work outside by mowing the lawn, tending to the garden, or raking leaves.
- If watching TV, use a stationary bike to pedal or stretch while viewing.
- Walk the dog
- Stand up when you talk on the telephone instead of sitting down.
- Invest in exercise equipment, as it is a one-time expense that everyone in the family can use.
The following are suggestions for incorporating physical activity into the workplace:
- Talk about project proposals or ideas with a co-worker while taking a walk.
- Try walking during business calls that do not require referencing documents or computers.
- Take the stairs to the office instead of the elevator.
- Walk around the airport if waiting for a plane
- Make sure to stay at hotels with fitness centers for use during business trips
- Jump ropes or resistance bands are small enough to fit in a suitcase.
- Form a sports team at work to raise money for charity while being physically active.
- Make appointments to exercise on your business calendar, in order to emphasize its importance.
- Walk to work if it is located within a reasonable distance.
The President’s Council established physical activity guidelines for Americans, which recommends 30 minutes of physical activity per day for adults and 60 minutes for children for at least 5 days per week. This number may seem intimidating at first, but it can be easily accomplished with these simple suggestions.
Explore ways to get your heart pumping during your everyday routine to live a more healthy and active lifestyle. By making minor modifications, such as walking or cycling to work, or by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, you are setting yourself up for a healthier, dynamic lifestyle. When you start to sense the health benefits, physical activity will start feeling less like a chore and more like a pleasurable experience.
Get Moving: Easy Tips to Get Active! [Internet]. American Heart Association [updated 2014 Dec 5; cited 2015 Jan 26]. Available from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/Get-Moving-Easy-Tips-to-Get-Active_UCM_307978_Article.jsp
Ways To Be Active [Internet]. President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition [cited 2015 Jan 26]. Available from: http://www.fitness.gov/be-active/ways-to-be-active/
An Active, Healthy Lifestyle [Internet]. Circulation Foundation [cited 2015 Jan 26]. Available from: http://www.circulationfoundation.org.uk/help-advice/vascular-health/an-active-healthy-lifestyle/
Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans [Interent]. The Department of Health and Human Services; 2008 [cited 2015 Jan 26]. Available from: http://www.fitness.gov/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/
Active Lifestyle [Internet]. N.C. Division of Air Quality [cited 2015 Jan 26]. Available from: http://www.ncair.org/employee/health/
Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:
Kluge, M. A. (2002). Understanding the essence of a physically active lifestyle: A phenomenological study of women 65 and older. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 10(1), 4-27.
Jobling, A. (2001). Life be in it: lifestyle choices for active leisure. Down Syndrome Research and Practice, 6(3), 117-122.
Lichtenstein, A. H., Appel, L. J., Brands, M., Carnethon, M., Daniels, S., Franch, H. A., ... & Karanja, N. (2006). Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006. Circulation, 114(1), 82-96.
van Oostrom, S. H., Smit, H. A., Wendel-Vos, G. W., Visser, M., Verschuren, W. M., & Picavet, H. S. J. (2012). Adopting an active lifestyle during adulthood and health-related quality of life: the Doetinchem Cohort Study. American journal of public health, 102(11), e62-e68.
Silveira, P., Daniel, F., Casati, F., van het Reve, E., & de Bruin, E. D. (2012). ActiveLifestyle: an application to help elderly stay physically and socially active. Designing for Inter/Generational Communities, 39.