Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Make a Motion–Daily!

In a previous FamilyWize article Is Sitting Bad for Your Health? we introduced good and bad news. The bad news from the online journal BMJ showed that sitting too long can lead to a reduction in life expectancy. The good news from author Gretchen Reynolds is that making small changes in your daily routine can significantly improve your health.

Cutting daily sitting time to under three hours and moving your body can extend your life by two years, according to BMJ group. By improving our health through less sitting and extra body motion, we’re not just extending life but improving the quality of our lives.

Overcoming Obstacles

What if my work requires me to sit more than three hours daily? How do I get started with a plan to add regular physical activity?

Is Sitting Bad for Your Health? suggested "deskexercising". Taking a break every 2 hours to walk in place or do simple arm and leg stretches can increase calorie burning. WebMd suggests "60 Second Aerobics." Forbes shows exercises that help relieve carpal tunnel, stretches to help your lower back and more.

Everyone knows the suggestions to park further away from the office to include a walk before and after you begin your day. Taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator is a great way to get activity into your busy day. But what can you do right at your desk to add some movement to your sedentary day?
  • Pump your arms over your head for 30 seconds.
  • Jumping rope for a minute. You can hop on both feet at once or alternate each foot. While sitting, you can make the arm motion of turning the rope and alternate tapping your feet.
  • Marching in place while sitting in your chair 20 times for each leg is a great way to include movement and burn some extra calories.
  • Simple leg and arm stretches or shoulder rolls can burn calories and loosen any stiffness from sitting too long.

Walking for health

A brisk walk is one of the easiest exercises and a great way to introduce regular physical activity. Many people walk during their break, even a ten minute walk around the office building can burn calories. Adding this kind of movement throughout the day can improve your health. Walking is a great office exercise. Here's why:
  • Only moderately strenuous. Compared to more strenuous exercises walking is more gradual and less intense, but just as effective.
  • Less sweating.  Walking doesn't make you work up a sweat as much as other exercises. It's possibly the easiest heart-healthy exercise for you to into the middle of a workday.  You can walk briskly in many climates throughout the year for 20 minutes without having to change your clothes afterward because of perspiration.
  • Walking requires the least amount of equipment. Good walking shoes and loose-fitting clothes are helpful but they are not required to get benefits from walking. High heels of course are inadvisable.
Always review your options with your doctor before adding any new exercise routine to your lifestyle.

For many Americans, getting started is the big challenge.  According to the BMJ report adults are sedentary for 55% of their day. Many Americans do not have a regular exercise routine – certainly not enough to overcome the risks that have been identified with lack of motion. Starting new exercise routines takes effort, especially when the goal is to make it a habit.

Other workouts for health improvement

If you want to make exercise workouts more challenging away from your desk, consider these alternatives for aerobic exercise:
aerobic fitness exercise workouts
Biking to work keeps your body in motion.
  • Biking to work is fun and healthy. It can be more fun than walking or running. Biking can be an alternative way of commuting and enjoying the scenery.
  • CrossFit is a rapidly growing strength and conditioning program. There may be a CrossFit gym in your area. Its known for faster results through a full body workout, including strength and aerobic fitness.
  • P90X is a home-based exercise program that is known for its intensity and giving a complete body workout.

Get Moving on Your Get-moving Plan

Failure to plan is planning to fail.  To go from sedentary living to regularly exercising, the first step is to define your plan. Of course, make sure your very first step is to consult with your doctor!

To help you get started, consider the following suggestions for exercise workouts. You will get your body in gear by increasing your physical movement and elevating your heart rate for a period of time.This is one of the best ways to improve heart health.

Get moving … Regularly!

That's what it comes down to: get moving, and then keep moving on with it.  It's important to find exercise that you enjoy doing. The more you enjoy it, the more you will stick with it. Best of luck to you!

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

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