Gearing up for the new year

Indian Mounds01/01/16

The School of Kinesiology offers these tips to get us moving in 2016:

As the New Year approaches most of us begin taking inventory of the things we've been planning to do or want to change. If becoming more physically active is one of the things on your list, here are some simple facts and tips for success. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, participating in some form of aerobic and muscle-strengthening types of physical activity each week are needed in order to improve your health. Anything that gets your body moving at a moderate-to-vigorous level is physical activity and is the first step toward maintaining a healthy weight, improving your mental health and mood, reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and the loss of bone density.

The recommendation for adults is to get 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity and at least two days of muscle strengthening activity each week. This can be accomplished with a variety of activities including walking/jogging, swimming, cycling, yoga and resistance activities using weights, elastic bands and stability balls. You can even make your work, work for you. Adding in some less structured activities like a brisk with your dog, trimming your crepe myrtles, raking the leaves, planting your pansies, and cleaning out the gutters can help you reach your health-related physical activity goals.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Lake joggersBe safe. It is recommended that you check in with your physician about your goal to start exercising to make sure you're healthy enough to change your current level of physical activity.

Buddy up. Making a commitment to yourself is the first step. Extending that commitment to include someone else adds some accountability, motivation and increases the joy of being active. Seek out a friend or colleague for social support. There’s no doubt others around you are making a similar resolution.

Be realistic. Think of this as a lifestyle change and not just a single goal to reach. Slow and steady wins this life race. A good starting point may be to break up your walking time into smaller chunks throughout the day. As long as you are doing physical activity at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity, you can spread it out over the week and even break it up into 10-15 minute bouts at a time.  

Be selective and have fun. Don’t get sold on the “new and improved” way to be fit. There is no one perfect exercise or machine that does it all. Find things that you enjoy…be a kid again! Ride a bike, throw, kick or hit a ball with your children or grandchildren, jump rope or even dance. If you make it fun, it is more likely to become a habit. 

 

-Lisa Johnson, Kinesiology Assistant Professor