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.

Creek Walking

Creek with water and rocks

Looking for a way to keep cool this summer? Try creek walking! It’s a great way to enjoy nature with family and friends, get a little exercise, and experience the outdoors. You don’t need much equipment to creek walk, just a pair of dirty tennis shoes or water socks to protect your feet.

Walking in the creek allows you to explore wildlife and native plants; find a fossil, bone, or antler; and leave the video games at home. Any stream can be unpredictable at times, so walk in the water when you can see the stream floor. Pack drinking water and snacks if you plan to walk a longer stretch. Towels and a change of clothes will provide a dry ride home. If walking alone, let someone know where and when you are going.

Find walking trails at Iowa Walking Trails and Maps, www.traillink.com.

Source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources, www.iowadnr.gov.

Need a Workout Partner? Check out the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Physical Activity Videos.

Exercise mat and tennis shoes

The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website has new physical activity videos. These are a great way to learn some new exercises. They can even serve as your virtual workout partner. They allow you to explore several types of workouts.

Like any good workout partner, these videos will also supply you with motivational tips to keep you going!

Go to Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/video-category/physical-activity/, to check them out.

High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Runner

Have you heard about HIIT workouts? High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) alternates bursts of high-intensity effort with short recovery periods. It improves overall fitness, heart health, and body fat. People of all fitness levels can try this type of training. You can use it in cycling, walking, swimming, and group exercise classes. Workouts are generally shorter. They also burn more calories in the two hours after the workout.

Visit the American College of Sports Medicine, www.acsm.org, for more information on finding an HIIT program that is right for you.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Trends, www.acsm.org

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