Just Move

September 12, 2017

You don’t want to buy a treadmill and you don’t want to join a gym. Your schedule is so busy, you really can’t fit in an exercise program. But don’t despair. There are many ways you can increase physical activity in your life.

Physical activity has been shown to improve your health. It can aid in weight loss, improve breathing, improve circulation, strengthen bones, reduce stress, improve sleep and prevent or improve chronic diseases, like diabetes and arthritis. So what are you waiting for? Excuse number 998: “I don’t have time.” Response should be “you don’t have time to wait!” Excuse number 999: “It’s too hard. I’m too out of shape!” Response: Adding activity to your life may not be as hard as you think. It is a matter of mind over body!

Physical activity does not have to be intense work-outs for 30 minutes or more. The recommendation is for 150 minutes per week or about 30 minutes 5 days a week. The 30 minutes can be done all at once or in spurts of 10 minutes. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that there is no difference in benefits for the body if physical activity is done in one block or in shorter spurts.

            Many websites offer ways to increase physical activity in your life. Some are easier and more practical than others. The following suggestions come from Northwestern University and Ace Fitness.org:  

Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall; push the baby in a stroller; Enjoy an afternoon bike ride with your kids; Walk up and down the field while watching the kids play;  Walk the dog – don't just watch the dog walk; Clean the house or wash the car;  Walk, skate, or cycle more, and drive less; Do stretches, exercises or pedal a stationary bike while  watching television; Mow the lawn with a push  mower; Plant and care for a garden; Tumble in the leaves, build a snowman, splash in a puddle or dance to favorite music.

More ways include: Take the stairs instead of the elevator; Park farther away from your destination;  Stand instead of sitting (this burns more calories); Take a walk on your lunch break Take a 10 minute walk in the morning and/or evening ; Do squats or lunges while waiting for your food to cook in the microwave; Do a few squats while brushing your teeth; Do calf raises while getting ready in front of the bathroom mirror; Take a walk when you are frustrated or bored (instead of eating); Keep hand weights at your desk. Do bicep and tricep exercises while on phone calls; Instead of making piles around the house, put things back in their place right away; Wash the car by hand instead of the drive-through car wash; Take an extra walk through the grocery store aisles before you check out; Get up and walk around after sitting for 30 minutes; Wear a good quality pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps per day! Fit bits (if you can afford one) help you track your exercise and encourages you to move when you have been sitting too long!

There are a lot of suggestions listed in this article. The bottom line is get up and move! If you would like to start a walking program but aren’t sure how, join Quinnipiack Valley Health District, the local public health department for Bethany, Hamden, North Haven and Woodbridge, on one of three Healthy Walk ‘n Talk programs this fall. Three walks are planned. Each walk will be easy to traverse, begin at 9:30 a.m. and will last about an hour. The first walk will be held September 16 at the Quinnipiac River State Park and is hosted by the North Haven Trails Association. Walk # 2 will be held on October 14, at the Farmington River Canal Putman Ave. entrance in Hamden and Walk # 3 will be held on October 21, at the Fitzgerald tract on Beecher Road in Woodbridge. If you are already a walker, join with us to encourage others to start walking. All ages and fitness levels are invited to participate. Community health professionals will join in on these walks providing an opportunity to discuss general health issues. For more information, visit www.qvhd.org or call 203 248-4528. To register (recommended but not required) for the event or for more information, go to www.eventbrite.com, search Healthy Walk ‘n Talk and your town and scroll down. Hope to see you on one or all of these walks!