Why get up and move around?

New information is emerging that physical activity is even more important than we thought before.

Health organizations such as theWalking, Feet Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have long recommended that we need to exercise almost every day. The recommendations have been to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, most days of the week.

Michigan State University Extension also recognizes the importance of physical activity, recommending that adults get at least 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week and children get at least an hour of activity daily. However some new research is showing that Americans are becoming more sedentary than ever. Whether we’re sitting at a computer at work or in front of the television at home, sitting for long periods of time is not good for our health or for our heart. For people with chronic conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure it’s even more important to remain active. Chronic conditions such as those increase our risk of heart disease and so does inactivity from long periods of sitting.

What should we do to improve? Human bodies were meant to be active—think of the hunter/gatherers of early man. They didn’t spend much time sitting around and neither should we. The new recommendation is to get up and move at least every 30 minutes while you’re sitting. Not only will this burn off extra calories and strengthen some muscles, it will help prevent back strain and improve flexibility of hip and knee joints.

So for your next half hour break:

  • Walk around your house
  • March in place during TV commercials
  • Walk up and down stairs
  • Walk around your office building or up and down the hallways
  • Take office stairs instead of the elevator
  • Do a few stretching or flexibility exercises at your desk from a standing position

It’s not just the adults in the family who need to move. If you have children or grandchildren in your home, watch the clock and encourage them to take activity breaks. Better yet – take a break with them! Make being physically active a part of your healthy lifestyle!

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