Given the health benefits of regular physical activity, we might have to ask why two out of three (60%) Americans are not active at recommended levels.

Many technological advances and conveniences that have made our lives easier and less active, many personal variables, including physiological, behavioral, and psychological factors, may affect our plans to become more physically active. In fact, the 10 most common reasons adults cite for not adopting more physically active lifestyles are (Sallis and Hovell, 1990; Sallis et al., 1992)

  • Do not have enough time to exercise
  • Find it inconvenient to exercise
  • Lack self-motivation
  • Do not find exercise enjoyable
  • Find exercise boring
  • Lack confidence in their ability to be physically active (low self-efficacy)
  • Fear being injured or have been injured recently
  • Lack self-management skills, such as the ability to set personal goals, monitor progress, or reward progress toward such goals
  • Lack encouragement, support, or companionship from family and friends, and
  • Do not have parks, sidewalks, bicycle trails, or safe and pleasant walking paths convenient to their homes or offices.

Understanding common barriers to physical activity and creating strategies to overcome them may help you make physical activity part of your daily life.

Suggestions for Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers
Lack of time Identify available time slots. Monitor your daily activities for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity.
Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or shopping, organize school activities around physical activity, walk the dog, exercise while you watch TV, park farther away from your destination, etc.
Select activities requiring minimal time, such as walking, jogging, or stair climbing.
Social influence Explain your interest in physical activity to friends and family. Ask them to support your efforts.
Invite friends and family members to exercise with you. Plan social activities involving exercise.
Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a group, such as the YMCA or a hiking club.
Lack of energy Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel energetic.
Convince yourself that if you give it a chance, physical activity will increase your energy level; then, try it.
Lack of motivation Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule and write it on your calendar.
Invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis and write it on both your calendars.
Join an exercise group or class.
Fear of injury Learn how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury.
Learn how to exercise appropriately considering your age, fitness level, skill level, and health status.
Choose activities involving minimum risk.
Lack of skill Select activities requiring no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
Take a class to develop new skills.
Lack of resources Select activities that require minimal facilities or equipment, such as walking, jogging, jumping rope, or calisthenics.
Identify inexpensive, convenient resources available in your community (community education programs, park and recreation programs, worksite programs, etc.).
Weather conditions Develop a set of regular activities that are always available regardless of weather (indoor cycling, aerobic dance, indoor swimming, calisthenics, stair climbing, rope skipping, mall walking, dancing, gymnasium games, etc.)
Travel Put a jump rope in your suitcase and jump rope.
Walk the halls and climb the stairs in hotels.
Stay in places with swimming pools or exercise facilities.
Join the YMCA or YWCA (ask about reciprocal membership agreement).
Visit the local shopping mall and walk for half an hour or more.
Bring your mp3 player your favorite aerobic exercise music.
Family obligations Trade babysitting time with a friend, neighbor, or family member who also has small children.
Exercise with the kids-go for a walk together, play tag or other running games, get an aerobic dance or exercise tape for kids (there are several on the market) and exercise together. You can spend time together and still get your exercise.
Jump rope, do calisthenics, ride a stationary bicycle, or use other home gymnasium equipment while the kids are busy playing or sleeping.
Try to exercise when the kids are not around (e.g., during school hours or their nap time).
Retirement years Look upon your retirement as an opportunity to become more active instead of less. Spend more time gardening, walking the dog, and playing with your grandchildren. Children with short legs and grandparents with slower gaits are often great walking partners.
Learn a new skill you’ve always been interested in, such as ballroom dancing, square dancing, or swimming.
Now that you have the time, make regular physical activity a part of every day. Go for a walk every morning or every evening before dinner. Treat yourself to an exercycle and ride every day while reading a favorite book or magazine.

Source: cdc.gov

“Countless research studies show that walking has a significant impact on not only our bodies but also our emotional, intellectual and mental well-being.”

Last week on our Try-It Thursday we discussed the health benefits of walking. Today, I’d like to take it a step further and discuss specifically the mental benefits of taking a daily stroll.

Research shows that regular walking:

  • Reduces stress and improves ability to cope
  • Releases feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins
  • Decreases depression
  • Reduces, treats and prevents anxiety and panic attacks
  • Relaxation
  • Boosts brain power and creates new brain cells
  • Improves cognitive functioning
  • Enhances memory
  • Keeps brain young, decreases symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Alleviates symptoms of PMS in womenHelps manage anger and feelings of hostility
  • Boosts your mood; increases joy; happiness and sense of well-being

Tips to get started when walking for stress relief.

  • Walk 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes.
  • Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency.
  • Practice deep breathing and/or meditation while walking.
  • Walk with a “buddy.” You can walk and talk.
  • Be patient with yourself. Walking, like any exercise plan, can require 4 to 8 weeks of consistency to feel any of the health benefits.

BONUS TIP:

Take your walk outdoors.

New research is showing that when you walk outside, you significantly increase the mental benefits of walking. Studies are showing that spending time in nature can decrease inflammation, cortisol levels, heart rate and improve concentration and memory.1

The next time you are finding it difficult to concentrate or find your anxiety level increasing, lace up your shoes and take a stroll outside.

 

 

1Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/scientific-benefits-of-nature-outdoors-2016-4/#5-better-vision-5

“I would say committing to physical activity, to a physical lifestyle, is the single most important thing people can do to prevent the buildup of belly fat and get rid of existing belly fat. Moderate-intensity physical activity (like walking), I would say is the “magic pill” because the health benefits go beyond keeping your waistline trim!” ~~Sheila A. Dugan, MD Rush University Medical Center

I think it’s safe to say that when most of us think about physical activity, we think about things running, burpees, treadmills, gyms, or maybe even Zumba. I know for me, walking is NOT at the top of my list when I think of an exercise that has health benefits. After all, walking is something most of us do all the time..often without even thinking about it. Does walking really have that many health benefits?

YES….it does!!!

Walking is one of the best things we can do for our body! There is overwhelming scientific evidence that supports the positive benefits for our body and health. And it’s all because we put one foot in front of the other.

Health Benefits of Walking

  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Relieves stiffness and improves range of motion in joints
  • Strengthen bones
  • Increases energy
  • Reduces risk of cancer
  • Helps decrease arthritis symptoms
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases “good” cholesterol and lowers your risk of heart disease
  • Improves lung capacity
  • Keeps skin young looking
  • Improves eye health (reducing risk of glaucoma)
  • Helps to manage your weight
  • Improves metabolism
  • Increases your ability to burn fat
  • Strengthens and improves your core, legs, shoulders and arms
  • Lowers risk of diabetes
  • Strengthens immune system

Getting Started on a Regular Walking Program

Step 1

If it’s been awhile since you’ve been active, or if you have any health conditions, check with your health care provider before starting any physical activity program.

Invest in a good pair of shoes (and socks)

Step 2

Invest in a good pair of shoes (and socks)

Step 3 

Pick a walking schedule you would like to follow.

Here is a guide to  help you get started:

WEEK SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 off 15 min 20 min 15 min 20 min 15 min 20 min
2 off 20 min 20 min 15 min 20 min 15 min 25 min
3 off 25 min 20 min 15 min 25 min 20 min 25 min
4 off 30 min 20 min 20 min 25 min 20 min 30 min
5 off 30 min 30 min 20 min 30 min 20 min 35 min
6 off 30 min 30 min 25 min 30 min 25 min 40 min
7 off 30 min 40 min 30 min 30 min 30 min 40 min
8 off 30 min 40 min 30 min 40 min 30 min 50 min
9 off 40 min 40 min 30 min 40 min 40 min 50 min
10 off 40 min 50 min 30 min 50 min 40 min 50 min
11 off 40 min 50 min 40 min 50 min 40 min 50 min
12 off 40 min 60 min 40 min 60 min 40 min 60 min

**guide from The Walking Site

Remember if you are new to walking, start off slow and do short sessions. Also, remember to stay well hydrated. Try to do a few minutes of stretching before you walk and after you walk.

Come back next week as we share more on the importance and benefits of walking.

Is it time you take the step towards a fit and healthier you?

When it comes to increasing physical activity~the number one excuse we hear as wellness coaches~you guessed it, “NO TIME!”

The second excuse we hear is “It’s too cold to go outside in the winter.”

We agree~There never seems to be enough time and winter in South Dakota makes it a challenge to exercise outside.

That’s why we are excited to share with you the 7-Minute Workout Challenge.

Instructions are easy! Perform each movement for 30 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest. Repeat for all 12 movements.

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Wall Squat
  3. Push-Ups
  4. Crunches
  5. Step-Ups
  6. Bodyweight Squats
  7. Triceps Dips
  8. Planks
  9. High Knees Running in Place
  10. Front Lunges
  11. Side Plank Push-Ups
  12. Side Planks

What do you think? Can you find 7 minutes in your day to do this workout?

 

Hello and Happy Thursday!

Did you look at the forecast for the weekend? Looks like it will be perfect temps to get outside and get some fresh air?

Here are a few of our favorite outside winter activities.

  • Ice skating
  • Walking our dogs
  • Sledding
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Hiking
  • Having a winter bonfire and making s’mores
  • Snowshoeing
  • Building a snow fort
  • Snowball fights
  • Birdwatching
  • Ice Fishing
  • Going on a winter picnic.
  • Snowmobiling
  • Making snow paint or ice candles
  • Making an obstacle course for the kids in the yard.
  • Going on a photo expedition
  • Sitting on our deck, wrapped in a blanket, sipping tea

Life’s too short and winter’s often too long. Let’s embrace our winter and enjoy the outdoors. What’s your favorite winter activity?