Three tips that lead to more physical activity

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We are not doing great as a society moving our bodies and meeting physical activity recommendations. In fact, the average Kansan spends more than 13 hours sitting each day!

Sedentary lifestyles have contributed significantly to obesity and other chronic disease like diabetes and heart disease over the last decade. So why are we not moving as much as what we once did? Well, first, innovations and technology have created time- and labor-saving tools that require little effort from us. [Hello, uber eats and grocery doorstep delivery services!]. Jobs are generally less physically demanding, and schools have less physical activity time. Lastly, smart phones steal a significant amount of our attention and time that could be put to more physical movement.

photo of people walkingThe national physical activity guidelines state that youth need at least 60 minutes of exercise daily and adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) plus two days of muscle strengthening each week. This may seem overwhelming to some but start small. Even 5 or 10 minutes of movement is better than none!

Most of us know that physical activity is good for our bodies and minds. Being physically active can help you sleep better, reduce anxiety and depression, reduce blood pressure, reduce risk of dementia, improves heart health, helps maintain a healthy weight, and improves bone strength. Despite the benefits, we are often faced with many barriers. Here are three common barriers and tips for how to overcome them.

  • No equipment? No worries, no gym membership needed! Find a park, hit a trail, or use free online resources.

  • No time? Find small windows in your day for 5- or 10-minute movement breaks. These add up if you do a few a day.

  • No energy? Inactivity leads to no energy leads to no activity, it’s a viscous cycle. Do something that feels good and you enjoy and your body will release endorphins and give you a mental, emotional, and physical boost.

Want to set a goal to be more active? Follow the SMART principle to set yourself up for success. Develop a goal that is S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R elevant, and T ime bound.

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