Friday, March 9, 2012

Making Time for 30 Minutes of Physical Activity Each Day

Today’s guest blog is by Nancy Gell, a graduate student in the department of kinesiology at Auburn University and a member of APHA’s Physical Activity Special Primary Interest Group.

If you saw the headline, "Problem solved: Feel better, less stressed and more productive at work," would you read on?

If your child's teacher said, "Your child's test scores could be better, and I have an easy solution to make that happen," would you listen to his suggestion?

If your doctor told you, "As you get older, your memory declines, but I have the prescription to help fight against that, and it also helps lower your risk for dementia," would you ask about that prescription?

The good news is, it's all true and all of these scenarios refer to the health benefits of exercise. There are 1,440 minutes in every day; schedule 30 of them for physical activity. For adults, being active for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week can produce positive health benefits. Kids should get at least 60 minutes of activity most days of the week to achieve health benefits.

Here are some ways to fit physical activity into your daily schedule:

• Pick activities that you enjoy. If you don't like to run, try walking; if you don't like to walk, try biking; if you don't like to bike, try dancing.

• Make it social. Giving and getting encouragement from a friend can keep you motivated and help you stick to your physical activity goals.

• Make it a family affair. Encourage your kids to be physically active now to begin establishing a lifetime of healthy behaviors.

• Write down your activity goal. Whatever your goal, writing it down will help you work toward it.

• Log your activity so you can measure your progress. Keeping track of your activity is a good motivator to push yourself harder. 

For more tips and information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s physical activity page, Let's Move!, the American Council on Exercise and APHA’s Physical Activity Special Primary Interest Group.

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