Working your body for a better you

Working your body for a better you

Eat less. Move more. You might have heard this or seen this written at your doctor’s office. It does sound like a simple prescription for wellness, right? But we all know it’s easier said than done.

Busy lifestyles keep us from stopping at the gym, playing sports or even walking around the neighborhood. But research is telling us fitness activities are more important than ever for physical, mental and even emotional wellness. Making them a priority is possible with a little planning and thought.

Regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life. For children and adolescents, it improves muscular fitness, bone health and heart health. For adults it can help with sleep, lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Being active also helps with emotional and mental health, by helping to manage depression and anxiety.

Here are some ways you can make “moving more” a fun part of your life.

For families:

  • Consider making a charity 5K walk part of your family’s next holiday or summer plans before heading for the cookout or family meal. Everyone can participate at their own pace without pressure and get some steps in while having fun.
  • While your child plays soccer or basketball, don’t pick up that cell phone and scroll Facebook. Use that time for a mini-workout by walking the perimeter of the field or court during practices or games.
  • Explore the outdoors by visiting a state park or hiking area. Most offer trails of varying lengths and family-friendly options. To make it more fun for kids, let them participate in picking the location or trail.
  • Make it a new habit to go for a group bike ride or dog-walking after dinner.

Just for you:

  • Finding an exercise buddy increases your chances of showing up for regular exercise, whether it’s at the gym or walking in the park or your own neighborhood. Having someone to chat with while you walk or work out makes it a social outing as well.
  • You’re not too old to play sports. Dust off your racket and join a tennis league or sign up for a volleyball team. You don’t have to be good; just have fun moving your body.
  • Instead of meeting a friend for dinner or drinks, meet at the park for a catchup session. Dinner can wait for a bit.
  • Replace a coffee or lunch break with an outdoor walk or walk a few flights of stairs to get your heart pumping.
  • Swim at your local recreation center. Instead of just sunbathing or watching the kids play, walk the length of the pool in the shallow end back and forth a few times for a light resistance workout.

Ways to be active are only limited by your imagination. Health benefits abound for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, but be sure to consult your doctor if you haven’t been active in a while. Start slowly and build up.

A common mistake some people make is to take an all-or-none approach and fail by putting too much pressure on themselves. Don’t try to work out five days a week if you are just starting or getting back into physical activity; you’ll burn out or get injured. Remember, even a little activity is better than none.

With just little changes in your lifestyle and attitude, you can reap big health benefits from being active. If you think about it, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Looking for a great family-friendly event that gets you moving and also helps you give back to your local community? Sign up for the Yes, Mamm! 5K. Learn more about the race and then register today!