Setting SMART Physical Activity Goals

With fall approaching, the new schedule for school and work has likely changed your routine. However, that doesn’t mean your exercise routine has to go. To keep yourself accountable, set a SMART goal for fall.

building blocks
  • Specific—This is the “what” of your goal, describing exactly what you’re going to do and where. For example, “I will walk outside more often.”
  • Measurable—How can you measure your goal each day, month, or year? Add specific units and numbers to your goal. “I will walk outside 30 minutes a day.”
  • Attainable—Is this goal attainable for you? Think about your current fitness level and the competing demands on your time.
  • Relevant—Is this goal meaningful and beneficial to you?
  • Time-bound—What is the time frame of your goal? How many days a week, and for how long? For example, “In the month of September, I will walk outside for at least 20 minutes at least three days a week.” At the end of your time frame, you can evaluate your success and make a new SMART goal.

Source: WebMD, www.webmd.com/

Stay Active Without Breaking the Bank

There are several ways to exercise and stay active. Many people think they must spend a lot of money on exercise programs or special equipment. Here are some ways to get active without spending money.

  • Check out the physical activity videos on the Spend Smart Eat Smart website, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/video-category/physicalactivity.
  • Walk more. Aim for 30 minutes daily.
  • Play with your kids or pets. Keeping up with their unlimited energy is a good workout.
  • Clean your house, wash the car or mow the lawn.
  • Use free local workouts. Check your community calendar for free or reduced priced classes.
  • Dance! One can burn lots of calories in a short period of time.

Physical activity is vital to overall health. Get active and start feeling better today.

Sources: Health.gov, health.gov

Refresh Yourself with Water for Summer Exercise

Water bottle

The human body is 60% water. Our cells need water to:

  • Remove waste,
  • Control body temperature,
  • Lubricate and cushion joints, and
  • Protect sensitive tissues.

Water is vital to regulate body temperature during exercise in the summer heat. Lack of water can lead to extreme thirst, fatigue, and dizziness. Dehydration is particularly dangerous for young children and older adults.

How much water do we need to be drinking? Adults should get 9–14 cups of fluid a day. Generally, if your urine is pale or colorless, you are getting enough.

Remember, you can also drink and eat other things besides water to get the fluid you need.

  • 100% juice (no more than 1 cup a day)
  • Milk
  • Fruit
  • Nonstarchy vegetables
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Sports drinks (if sweating a lot)

For more about your water needs, visit Mayo Clinic, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256.

Keep Active While Social Distancing

Since the spring, gyms, recreation centers, and playgrounds have closed or operated in limited capacity, due to the need for social distancing. However, we can still be physically active while staying safe.

Person riding a bike on a country road
  • Walking, running, and biking with people in your household can be fun. Find a little-used trail in your neighborhood, an open park, or even a rural area and go exploring!
  • Avoid crowded parks and recreational areas. Consider canoeing or kayaking in an uncrowded waterway.
  • Try a workout video. On days when the weather is not right for being outdoors, visit free online videos that encourage physical activity. Visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. webpage, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/video-category/physical-activity, for ideas.

Sources:

CNBC, www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/best-home-workout-streaming-services-to-try-during-covid-19-pandemic.html
ABC Action News, www.abcactionnews.com/news/national/coronavirus/
these-gyms-are-offering-free-online-workouts-to-everyone-so-you-can-stay-in-shape-during-quarantine

June is Men’s Health Month

Men’s Health Month helps raise awareness about early detection and treatment of preventable disease among men and boys. Women tend to outlive men by almost five years. One reason for this is that women are more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men. Routine health monitoring can help reduce the risk of men’s deaths at an earlier age. Men are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and stroke than women. Healthy changes in diet and exercise habits can lower men’s risks for these conditions. Follow these tips to live longer and healthier:

  • Seek regular medical care to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Get 2 1/2 total hours of physical activity a week, including strengthening exercise on two days a week.
  • Follow a MyPlate-friendly meal plan. Everyone, regardless of gender, needs to eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean protein foods, and low-fat dairy. In general, men need more calories and protein than women.
  • Limit drinks with added sugar, such as soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. Those can add many extra calories.
Man stretching while exercising

Sources:
Men’s Health Network, www.MensHealthNetwork.org
ChooseMyPlate, www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-get-the-facts-to-look-and-feel-better

Improving Strength

Hand weights

Small changes in muscle strength can make a real difference in function. Do strength exercises for all major muscle groups on two or more days per week for 30 minutes each. Don’t exercise the same muscle group on any two days in a row. Activities should be done that make your muscles work harder than usual and work all major muscle groups. Complete this 18- minute beginner strength-training workout (spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/video/at-home-workout-beginner-strength-training) from Spend Smart. Eat Smart. to get you started.

Be Active as a Family

Physical activity is important for all ages. Being active as a family can be fun and beneficial for everyone. The recommended amount of physical activity for adults is 2 1/2 hours per week; children need 60 minutes per day. Try these tips to make activity part of your day!

  • Set specific activity times—Look at your family calendar and schedule physical activity into your day when everyone is available.
  • Plan ahead and track your progress—Let the kids help plan the activities and log them on the family calendar.
  • Include work around the house—Yard work and chores around the house count too!
  • Use what is available—Many activities take little or no equipment or facilities such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, and dancing. Check out programs available at your community recreation center; they may even have childcare or activities available.
  • Plan for all weather conditions—Get outdoors when the weather is nice, but also plan activities that do not depend on the weather. Treasure hunts and hide-and-seek can be played indoors or outdoors.
  • Turn off the TV—Limit screen time to no more than two hours per day. This includes TV, video games, and the computer (except for schoolwork).
  • Start small—Start with an activity that everyone likes and add new ones when everyone is ready.
  • Include other families—Invite others to join the fun!
  • Treat the family with fun physical activity—To celebrate achievements, do something active as a family such as visit the zoo, try out a park, or go to the lake.

Source: Choose MyPlate, www.choosemyplate.gov

Warm Weather and Warm Joints!

Woman exercising

As seasons change, our bodies work to adjust to different temperatures. Unfortunately, this can cause our joints to become stiff and uncomfortable during weather changes. Try these three mobility exercises to increase functionality and reduce pain during the changing seasons:

Standing Hip Openers: Find your balance on one foot with the help of a chair. Standing on one leg, make a circle with the knee of the other leg. Bring the knee out to the side of your body and then back. Complete the motion 4–5 times with each leg.

Ankle Mobility: Stand tall with one hand on a wall for balance. Rise up onto your toes so your heels come off the floor. Then slowly rock back to the heels of your feet, letting your toes rise from the floor. Rock back and forth about 10 times.

Knee to Chest Stretch: Place back against a wall and bring one knee to your chest. Grab the knee with both hands and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat stretch on each leg, standing up tall against the wall.

Try A New Winter Sport

Skiing

Have you always wanted to learn how to ski? How about ice skating? Snowboarding? Snowshoeing? Now’s the time! There are a variety of winter activities right outside your doorstep that are affordable and fun. The best part—you can burn calories while enjoying yourself! A 150-pound person can burn approximately 415 calories per hour cross-country skiing. Check out the DNR website for trails and other winter activities!

Source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources (www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/DNR-News-Releases/ArticleID/457/Iowa-Winter-Treks-and-Trails-to-Test-Those-Fitness-Trackers)

Make Fitness Fun Again

Are you bored with your current fitness routine? If so, try these ideas to make fitness fun again.

  • Download a fitness app that works as your own personal trainer.
  • Go to your local library and check out some fitness DVDs or go online and find free videos to move along to.
  • Make it a social time by inviting a friend or coworker to exercise with you.
  • Make a playlist that excites you and gets you moving faster.
  • Buy some new workout clothes that make you happy and excited to wear them.
  • Try new classes at a local gym, recreation center or community center.

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