Win with Workplace Wellness

One way to improve our overall health is to be physically active on a regular basis. It is crucial for healthy aging, reduces risk of chronic diseases, improves mental health, and strengthens bones and muscles. Most Americans who work full-time are spending at least eight hours a day at their worksite, and most of that time is spent at a computer or desk. Here are five tips for increasing physical activity during the workday:

  • Take short 3- to 5-minute breaks every hour to get up and walk around your worksite.
  • Find your favorite exercise video from Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu, before or after lunch.
  • Invest in a standing desk or “treadmill desk” to increase standing or walking throughout the day.
  • Try stretches while sitting at your desk—such as chair squats, arm and elbow stretches, sit up and stretches, and overhead presses.
  • Find a colleague to walk with during your lunch hour. This can improve social and physical well-being.

Sources:
CDC, www.cdc.gov
New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, njaes.rutgers.edu
Harvard Health Publishing, www.health.harvard.edu

Find Your Movement Motivation

Walking on path

Starting a physical activity routine and sticking to it can be challenging. Finding the motivation to stay active is key.

Most results of exercise are not instantaneous, so set realistic goals. Start small and gradually increase to 30 minutes of exercise five days per week. People keep exercising because they have found something they enjoy. If exercise feels like a chore, it can hold you back from accomplishing your exercise goals.

People who are physically active tend to live longer, healthier lives. Research shows moderate physical activity—such as 30 minutes a day of brisk walking—significantly contributes to longevity. Always consult with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Source:
American College of Sports Medicine, go.iastate.edu/M4SDGB

Resources to Help You Move More

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.

The Joy of Physical Activity

Workout equipment

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.

Plan for Success

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!

Learn more about physical activity at go.iastate.edu/EYOYWI

Tend a Garden to Make Your Health Bloom

Two people gardening

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!

To learn more health benefits of gardening, listen to the Sow, Grow, Eat, and Keep videos, bit.ly/3JiahSB.

Move It

chair workout web page

To promote health and well-being, healthy adults should get 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity weekly. Although spring is around the corner, it still may not be warm enough to get moving outside. Get moving in the comfort of your home with Spend Smart. Eat Smart.® physical activity videos. You can access these at Spend Smart. Eat Smart., https://bit.ly/3ol6oE6.

Physical Activity Melts Stress

Yoga mat

Does just thinking about getting more exercise stress you out? It may help you to remember that once you do start a physical activity regularly, you will be melting your stress away.

“Exercise produces a relaxation response that serves as a positive distraction,” says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. Getting enough physical activity can counteract the effects of stress. It strengthens your immune system. It helps ward off fatigue and illnesses. A 20-minute walk may energize you more than an afternoon nap!

Source: WebMD.com, www.webmd.com

Encouragement Goes Far

You can do it!

We all can use encouragement at times, even some celebration when we meet a goal. Cheering on a friend or family member who wants to be more physically active is a wonderful way to show your support. Be open and listen—congratulate first steps and celebrate progress along the way. Help it happen—take a walk or explore new activities together. Don’t push too hard and DO keep it positive.

Source: How to Encourage Someone Toward Physical Fitness, nextavenue.org

Strength Training for Strong Muscles

Woman lifting small weights

Current physical activity guidelines recommend strength training, which helps to prevent or reverse sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the decline of skeletal muscle tissue, or muscle mass, as we age. Doing strength exercises at least twice a week keeps your muscles strong, so that you can do everyday activities such as lifting groceries and rising from a chair.

Visit the National Institute on Aging Go4Life exercise videos, bit.ly/3ocqDmy, on YouTube for strength-training exercises, 7 tips for a safe and successful strength-training program, bit.ly/3GNZQ8p, or download the Prevent Sarcopenia handout, store.extension.iastate.edu/product/14826.

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