Keep moving!

12 Mar

Hiking-staying active!

It is important to keep moving.  Activity is key for good health, a strong body, and a healthy spirit.  New guidelines tell us we really should shoot for getting the heart rate up for 45 minutes with a good cardio workout at least 3-4 times a week, and maybe fill in the other days with other more manageable activity. But are those goals attainable and realistic for busy working parents?  Moms going from work to the soccer field.  Dads running from that last meeting to grab dinner and feed the kids.  Hhhmmm.  Let’s think about this challenge.

To set a fitness or activity goal, going from zero to high power is certainly risky and may fall flat.  Ambitious, but not necessarily attainable.  When starting to set some goals to increase activity, many factors come into play.  These factors need to be balanced if they are to be achieved.  Start setting goals in small steps to ensure success.  Often goals are set with the best of intentions, but fall apart because they are not balanced with lifestyle, time management, and appropriate physical fitness level.  Above all, be realistic when deciding how and when to increase your activity levels.  Success is so exciting, and brings about a sense of accomplishment.  Something to build on!

In addition to creating realistic goals, it is important to use motivating words.  Some people are intimidated or totally turned off by certain words like “exercise”, or “program”  or “class”.  Perhaps starting with a goal using a phrase like “increase activity” or “physical activity” may help.  Every one can increase their activity level.  And it is not the least bit intimidating.

Start with something simple.  Start with taking a 30 minute walk after dinner 3 nights a week.  Do the “pep step” with a quick stride.  Focus on pulling in the belly, walking with good form, pushing those shoulders back.  After a month or so, build on it, and walk 4-5 nights a week, and maybe kick it up to 45 minutes.  And get your heart rate up a bit more.

The benefits of increased activity are too numerous to ignore.  To start with, increased activity and regular exercise boosts the immune system.  We can better fight things off when we are active and have a strong body.   Also, it can help weight management.  That can be a positive benefit for sure!

Increasing activity also improves your mood.  If you are crabby, go for a walk.  That crabby mood will turn into a positive one in no time!  Exercise is associated with good mental health and can reduce anxiety.  It can also increase self esteem.  Who wouldn’t want that benefit?

Another benefit of increasing your activity level is that it can improve your sleep.  Yup, that’s right.  In addition to being happier, you will sleep better.   Those of us with children, a job, bills, and a million things to do on a daily basis can understand the benefit of a good nights sleep.  Sometimes that can be elusive.  Go out for a good walk, and a good snooze in on the way too!  Exercise can also help manage or reduce the effects of stress.  With the worries of daily life, this is huge!  Take advantage of it!

Never pass up an opportunity to increase your physical activity.  Some one calls to go hiking?  Jump at that chance!  The children want to go for a bike ride?  Yes!  Take a drive out to your state park and canoe?  You bet!  I will be the first to admit that it is tough to work an increase in physical activity into a daily schedule, but I am also the first to tell you..it can be done!  Be focused on good form to avoid injury, start slowly,  and be realistic.  Become active.  Then build on your success!

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One Response to “Keep moving!”

  1. Jeanne Carlson April 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY…AND ALL FOUR ARE THE PICTURE OF HEALTH…WHERE ARE YOU IN THIS PICTURE

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