The health benefits of regular physical activity are well known, but many of us do not make it a part of our daily routine. Are you active for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week, or 150 minutes a week? Do you engage in muscle strengthening activity 2 days each week? If not, check out these tips:
Keep track! Schedule time on your calendar for at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days each week. Find activities you enjoy like taking a walk outside or going for a swim.
Ask for a partner to join you. Enjoy time with friends and family when you are active. Find an exercise partner to support you and hold you accountable.
Join a fitness class. Joining a class can help you stick with it.
Find activities you can do all year. Find an indoor place to walk like the grocery store or Walmart or watch an online exercise video when it isn’t nice outside.
Getting regular exercise and physical activity benefits everyone, including those with Parkinson’s disease. Being physically active can improve your mood, help you focus, reduce stress, and improve sleep. Adults need a mix of aerobic (such as walking or biking) and muscle-strengthening activity to stay healthy. Aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. Move Your Way®, health.gov/moveyourway, provides tools and resources to make your personalized activity plan.
Physical activity apps allow people to work out at home while still following guided workouts and being motivated by a trainer or instructor. Here are some factors to consider before downloading:
Credible instructors. For safety purposes and best results, choose an app with workouts that are created or led by certified fitness experts.
Fitness goals. Select an app that caters to your exercise needs
Budget. While some are totally free, most apps require a monthly subscription cost.
Equipment needed. Most apps offer classes that require some equipment, like yoga blocks, dumbbells, or kettlebells. Look for an app with classes that are compatible with your current home gym setup.
User reviews. Reading what other users think can be valuable as you decide whether a workout app will be the right fit for you.
There’s nothing wrong with trying out a few fitness apps before settling on one—the most important thing is that it helps you reach your goals safely and effectively. One such app is Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu. In addition to recipes, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. app has a variety of physical activity videos. There are seated and standing workouts, and minimal equipment is needed. Workouts are 20 minutes or less.
While scrolling through social media, do you compare yourself with people who appear physically fit? Does it make you feel bad about your body? You are not alone. Poor or distorted body image issues have increased and affect people of all ages. This can lead to unhealthy practices with food and exercise.
A positive body image increases confidence (self-efficacy), self-acceptance, and healthy behaviors. Changing how you think, see, and feel will help you to learn to love your body. Here are some ways to help achieve and maintain a positive body image.
Concentrate on what makes you special by exploring your unique skills and talents.
Make a list of positive things to say to yourself and repeat the affirmations daily.
Focus on appreciating and respecting your body. Plan time to relax and celebrate what your body can do.
Set goals to improve your overall health and well-being.
Speak out against unrealistic images of beauty portrayed in the media.
The weather outside may be frightful, but that does not have to make your winter any less delightful! Planning workouts ahead of time allows for consistent exercise habits. Setting goals and keeping track of your progress can be good motivators.
This time of year, there are many advertisements for workout challenges. You can even design your own 30-day challenge.
You can create your own 30-day challenge using free online videos on the ISU Extension and Outreach SpendSmart. EatSmart. website, go.iastate.edu/Q6EUYK. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly using a variety of aerobic, strength training, and stretching routines.
When it comes to being physically active, consistency is key. Knowing your challenges and taking steps to overcome them will help you develop and maintain a physical activity routine. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the goal of regular physical activity.
Know Your Why. What will keep you going?
Make a plan. You could commit to the same time each day. Follow a workout plan to stay on track and be accountable.
Set reminders. These alert you it’s time to get active. Try setting an alarm or keeping your workout clothes in your work bag. Reminders can be important in creating routines.
Make it easy. You are more likely to stick with a plan that fits your fitness level. Park further from the store. Take the stairs. Even 10-minute walks throughout the day add up!
Track your progress. Track your progress. Hold yourself accountable and check in on yourself.
Make it enjoyable. Make it interesting and fun!
Exercise isn’t about doing it every day or being “motivated enough.” It’s about moving more!
Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity a day. A wealth of resources to get you moving is just a click away!
ISU Extension’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart website, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/, includes nine videos such as chair workouts, low impact cardio, cardio intervals, and more. They are safe, free, and easy to follow for all ages and physical activity levels.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 150 to 300 minutes (30 to 60 minutes, 5 days weekly) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, biking, or hiking each week.
Did you know there are more than 1,800 miles of trails in Iowa available to explore on foot or by bike? Iowa by Trail is a resource from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. It is available as an app or on the Iowa by Trail website, go.iastate.edu/XOJQ8I. Search for trails by location and find information on distance, surface, and accessibility. The app allows users to track the trails they completed and the distance they traveled.
To download the app on a cellular device, open the App Store. Search for the app using the Search tab. Tap “download” to install the app. Check out this resource to learn why Iowa is referred to as the “Trail Capital of the Nation.”
Spring is finally here, and many families are enjoying the warmer weather by planning their gardens. The fresh produce from gardens certainly improves our diets. As a bonus, gardening helps us be active! The Centers for Disease Control considers gardening a moderate intensity activity. Gardening helps get us the recommended 2 1/2 hours of activity we need each week. Working in a garden allows us to get vitamin D from the sun. It helps relieve stress. It might even lower our risk of dementia!
A team at Iowa State University (ISU) is leading the statewide rollout of Walk with Ease (WWE). It is an evidence-based program to help older adults establish healthy patterns of physical activity. The ISU team is currently inviting adults over the age of 60 to take part in an enhanced version of the virtual, self-directed WWE program. This includes access to an online portal as well as personalized support to help older adults incorporate more steps into their daily lives. All programming, including a guidebook, is free for those willing to provide feedback on the enhancements. For more information and to enroll in the program, visit Walk with Ease, www.walkwitheaseisu.org.
Sources: Walk with Ease at Iowa State University, www.walkwitheaseisu.org.