2021-06-02T12:54:22-06:00June 23rd, 2021|

Ask the Experts: If you want to get more exercise, making gradual and realistic changes is the way to go

Regional One Health’s clinical nutrition team works with patients on making lifestyle changes that help manage chronic conditions and improve overall health through proper nutrition.

Healthy physical activity is also important, and they’re reaching out with tips on how to implement exercise into your daily life.

Fitting exercise into a busy schedule may sound intimidating, but experts say there are easy ways to get healthy physical activity – and your body will thank you for it!

Regional One Health’s clinical nutrition team is sharing tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics designed to help you move more.

“Find activities that you enjoy,” the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests. “If you like group activities, look into virtual classes or those that can be done at a safe distance inside or outdoors. If you prefer being active alone, consider rollerblading, jumping rope, dancing, lifting weights or yoga.”

Always talk to your health care provider before increasing your physical activity, especially if you’re starting from a sedentary lifestyle or if you have chronic diseases or disabilities. If your provider gives you the go-ahead, aim to meet the Academy’s recommendation that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-to-intense physical activity every week.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise into your day. It’s free, low-impact and you can do it just about anywhere.

A brisk 25-minute walk six days a week is an easy way to reach that guideline. You can also split it up – go for two brisk 15-minute walks five days of the week.

The idea is to get regular physical activity. If you’re active most days of the week, you’ll achieve the greatest health benefits, including stronger bones and a reduced risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

A good starting point is finding activities you can incorporate into your daily life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park far from the store and walk, clean your house, or work in your yard.

It can also help to set reminders on your phone or calendar to move throughout the day.

If you want to add more exercise, plan ahead to make it part of your weekly schedule. Dedicate specific times for exercise just like you would a work meeting or dinner with friends.

When you’re scheduling exercise, consider your personal preferences and the other demands in your day. If you prefer being active in the morning, set your alarm clock to give yourself enough time to exercise before work, school or family obligations. If you like to exercise later in the day, carve out time to do it over lunch or after you get home from other activities.

Also, decide what type of activity you want to do.

Walking is an easy option for most people: it’s convenient, you can do it just about anywhere, and it is safe for most fitness levels. With a little more planning, you can also mix in other options, such as organized sports or exercise classes.

Being active around the house, like gardening or cleaning, is a great way to get exercise.

Always make sure you’re choosing activities that match your abilities. By setting realistic goals, you’re less likely to get discouraged or injured. For example, if you’ve never run before, start by working yourself up to a 1-mile jog rather than diving into training for a marathon.

Try to perform both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises. Aerobic exercises like brisk walking or bicycling are good for your heart, while strength exercises like lifting weights, elastic band workouts or resistance training using your own body weight build up your muscles.

Stretching exercises are also important, as they increase flexibility and range of motion.

Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once or make huge lifestyle changes overnight. By gradually increasing activity, discovering what you enjoy and working around your other responsibilities, you can build your fitness and reap all the health benefits of regular exercise.

For more information, visit www.health.gov/moveyourway.