April has been dedicated as Move More Month. With the promise of spring in the air, we are all excited to get outdoors after a long winter. That makes April the perfect time to celebrate and embrace physical activity.
Getting started can be hard. We know we need physical activity to stay healthy, but busy schedules and other things can get in the way of finding time to make exercise a priority. By remembering that physical activity will make daily life better can help you stay motivated. It is proven that exercise can boost your mood, sharpen your focus, reduce your stress, and improve your sleep. It can also reduce symptoms of arthritis, anxiety, and depression and help keep diabetes and high blood pressure under control. For older adults, it also can help you stay independent longer, keep up with grandkids, and remain able to do everyday tasks like chores and shopping.
We have established that exercise and moving is good! How much do we need? Health.gov recommends older adults getting
at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (that's about 30 minutes a day of anything that gets your heart beating faster)
at least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activity (activities that make your muscles work harder than usual).
Aerobic exercises can include cleaning, yard work, golfing or swimming, gardening, etc. Muscle building activities can include Pilates or yoga, using resistance bands or small weights, taking a strength training class, etc.
If this sounds overwhelming, don't get discouraged! Starting with a 5-minute walk has many health benefits as well! Slowly building up the length of time, distance, or energy level is encouraged so you don't overdo it or strain yourself, especially if you are new to exercise. You can also break it up throughout the day.
Make April the start of something new! Commit to getting some physical activity in every day and enjoy the many benefits you will feel! Health.gov/moveyourway has many resources and ideas on where to start!