One in four U.S. adults are sitting for longer than eight hours each day, and this lack of activity is bad for mental and physical health. The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is urging adults to move more and sit less throughout the day. April, designated as Move More Month, is a great month to start.
“Staying active can help you feel, think, live and sleep better,” said Dr. William Gill, a cardiologist on the American Heart Association’s Indianapolis board of directors. “Most of us don’t get enough movement throughout the day, so we encourage people to move more. Start out with five minutes of movement and build from there, ideally getting to 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity per day. Walking is a great form of activity, but we have many other resources and ideas to fit everyone’s lifestyle.”
The American Heart Association’s Move More initiative, which encourages physical activity for better physical and mental health is a great time to commit to building in more activity. Here are some ideas to move more throughout the day:
- Schedule breaks. Avoid being sedentary for too long and set a reminder to move around for five minutes multiple times a day.
- Be creative. Find more ways to get up and off the couch by taking a walk around the house or doing a few push-ups between episodes of a TV show. If you have a pet, take breaks to play or take a walk outside. Active chores like vacuuming and tidying up clutter count, too.
- Put the screens on hold. Dedicate time each day for the whole family to unplug and take an active break. Take a walk, play a game of hide-and-seek inside or put on your favorite music for a dance party.
- Move more while working at home. Start reducing meetings by five minutes when possible and use that time to incorporate active moments like doing some basic strength exercises like squats or crunches, moving to a different area to do a few stretches to break up your day, ormake it a habit to stand every time you make or answer an e-mail.
- Find forms of exercise you like. To find a routine that you’ll stick with,experiment with at home workouts that fit your personality and schedule.
For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking or gardening, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity such as running or aerobic dancing, or a combination of both intensity level activities. In addition, the Association recommends two days of moderate-to high-intensity muscle strengthening activity weekly, such as resistance training.
For additional physical activity ideas, visit www.heart.org/movemoretogether.