Moving More = Better Health

Our bodies are built to move. There are many benefits to being active throughout the day. Moving your body for just 3–5 minutes every 30–60 minutes improves nearly every system in the body.

Studies show that moving for a few minutes every 30 minutes or so

  • Improves digestion,
  • Increases energy levels,
  • Enhances mood,
  • Promotes better blood flow,
  • Improves posture, and
  • Increases focus.

Get your body moving by taking a stroll away from your work area. Stretch muscles that feel tense. Shake your arms and legs or do simple exercises in your workspace. For example, you could do wall push-ups, repeatedly standing from your chair.

Print this useful infographic on desk exercises, bit.ly/36X4kte!

Source: Time to Move, hr.umich.edu/benefits-wellness/health-well-being/ mhealthy/faculty-staff-well-being/physical-activity/time-move.

Apps to Get You Back on Your Feet

Woman working at computer and looking at watch

If you sit more than 30 minutes at a time for more than six hours a day, you are at higher risk of death from all causes. Even an hour of physical activity daily cannot undo the damage caused by too much sitting.

You can lower your health risk by standing up for only a few minutes every half hour. One way to make sure you do this is to get a free reminder app for your laptop or smart phone. With a reminder app, you decide how often you want to take a break from work to stand, stretch, walk around, or do some aerobic or resistance exercises.

Visit Whole Family Living, www.wholefamilyliving.com/apps-to-helpyou-
move-more-at-work/, for a review of the many reminder apps available.

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404815/

Geocaching—A treasure hunt around the corner

Geocaching device on a rock

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt. It takes people to places they otherwise may have never gone. It’s a low-cost way for the whole family to stay active. You can enjoy outdoor adventures year-round. In fact, winter can be the best time to geocache—no bugs and fewer people!

To get started, set up a free account at Geocaching (geocaching.com/play). Download the app to your smartphone or purchase a GPS unit. In the app, you will see a map of all the caches. You can either choose to search for caches near you or browse for other locations you want to explore.

What you will find may be a very small pill container or a larger plastic container. Some will be harder to find than others, but they are never buried. Inside will be a log to sign. There might also be “swag” like geodes, stickers, patches, pins, marbles, keychains, lanyards, and geocoins. Visit geocaching.com for success tips and discover what is hiding near you!

Home Gym Ideas

Workout equipment

Can’t go to the gym? Make your own at home, using these suggestions.

  1. Make your own weights. Use canned goods or fill recycled milk jugs with water or sand.
  2. Make your own resistance bands using old nylons or tights.
  3. Walk up and down your stairs to replace the step machine workout. Play some music to keep you going. Increase the workout by adding a new song each time.
  4. A jump rope is a great option for cardio workouts at home. It’s more affordable than a treadmill or exercise bike.
  5. Use free smart phone apps or computer programs to plan or track your workouts.
  6. Use an exercise ball instead of bench and exercise equipment. Use the ball to do crunches, push-ups, chest presses, and more.
  7. Need a yoga mat? Use a towel during stretching, yoga, or core exercises. It also prevents your hands and feet from sliding during exercises.

Sources:
Medline Plus, medlineplus.gov; Eat Smart, Move More, eatsmartmovemoreva.org

Activity—A Natural Mood Booster!

When the sun shines less in fall and winter, that can depress our mood. Regular physical activity lifts our spirits by releasing feel-good endorphins. Aim for 30 minutes of activity three to fve days a week. You can engage in three 10-minute bouts of activity a day, if 30 minutes all at once is daunting. Try these ideas for indoor physical activity during the cold and icy months:

  • Turn on the radio and dance.
  • March in place while watching your favorite TV show.
  • Set an alarm to walk around your house or office every hour during the day.
  • Climb stairs.
  • Use workout videos.
    • Explore streaming channels to find those that are free.
    • Borrow an exercise video from your local library.
    • Visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu, for free physical activity videos.

Take A Hike

Hiking is great for physical health. It also improves mental health! It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. According to a Stanford study, walking for 90 minutes in nature, instead of an urban setting, decreases activity in the brain linked to depression.

Looking for an Iowa hiking destination?

Grab your hiking books and enjoy being active on Iowa’s trails.

Source: Stanford News, (news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/)

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

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