By: Rorie Dunphey
Spring is a time of growth and a perfect time to start being more active. Being physically active is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Adults who are physically active are less likely to develop chronic diseases than adults who are sedentary. Research shows it can also help with depression and can increase your overall sense of well-being. Regular exercise can benefit people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities.
Here are 10 tips to help you get started being more active this spring.
- Start activities slowly and build up over time – If you are just starting physical activity, build up slowly to prevent injury. After a few weeks, increase how often and how long you are active.
- Get your heart pumping – For health benefits, work up to at least 2 ½ hours of activity each week that requires moderate effort. For example, go for a brisk walk or bike ride. You can divide the time into increments of 10 minutes or more.
- Strength train to keep bones and muscles healthy – Do strengthening exercises 2-3 times a week. This could include lifting weights, doing push-ups and sit-ups, working with resistance bands, or even heavy gardening.
- Make the ACTIVE choice – Every little bit of activity can add up and doing something is better than nothing. Take the stairs, go for a 10-minute walk at lunch or park your car far away from your office, school or the store.
- Mix it up! There are endless ways to be active. Try out classes or activities you have never done like dancing or martial arts.
- Find an exercise buddy – Activities are often more enjoyable when done with friends or family. Join a walking group, attend a fitness class, play with the kids or join a gym. If you build a social network, your buddies will encourage and motivate you to stay active.
- Set goals and track your progress – Planning activities ahead and keeping records is a great way to reach your goals. Seeing your progress can also help you to stay motivated. Treat your exercise time like an appointment and put it on the calendar!
- Add on to your active time – Once you have established a routine, try to increase the time you are active or add variety. The more time you devote to being active, the better the health benefits.
- Increase your effort – Add more intensity once you have been moderately active for a while. Do this by turning your walk into a jog or swimming or biking faster.
- Have fun! Being physically active does not have to be a chore. It can help you feel better about yourself and the way you live your life. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle.
Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.