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

Virtual Fitness Resources

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.

Find our fitness resources at: go.iastate.edu/Q6EUYK

Discover Iowa by Trail

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.”

Walk with Ease: A Program for Better Living

Tying walking shoes

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.

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.

Physical Activity Primer

Putting on tennis shoes

Feeling tired, slow, and sluggish? People often don’t feel their best when they are not getting enough physical activity. But how much is enough? Experts say, for most of us, at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week promotes health and well-being. For the best results, aim for a combination of aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and flexibility activities each week.

Ideally, we need 150 minutes of aerobic activities weekly. Aerobic activities increase your breathing and heart rate and improve heart and lung fitness. Jogging, brisk walking, biking, and swimming are examples.

Muscle-strengthening activities build and maintain both muscles and bones. Lifting weights, using a resistance band, or doing weight-bearing activities such as push-ups, squats, or yoga are all examples. Aim to do these twice weekly, in addition to your aerobic activity.

Flexibility activities help joints to move through their full range of motion. You should enjoy stretching exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi two to three times weekly.

Source: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Spend Smart. Eat Smart., spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/physical-activity/.

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