NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Move It or Lose It

Move It or Lose It

 

          Our cold mid-west winters keep us indoors more than most of us would like. But even when the weather warms up, Americans are not big on physical exercise. One study showed that two out of three (60%) Americans are not active at even basic recommended levels of physical activity for  

          Many technological changes have made our lives easier and less active plus  many personal variables, including physiological, behavioral, and psychological factors, may affect our plans to become more physically active. When asked, “why?” adults have a long list of what interferes with their being more physically active. –

          Do not have enough time to exercise

  • Find it inconvenient to exercise
  • Lack self-motivation
  • Do not find exercise enjoyable – it’s boring!
  • Lack confidence in their ability to be physically active
  • 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.
  •           Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can help manage your weight, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, strengthen bones and muscles, improve your mental health and mood, improve your ability to do daily tasks and prevent falls and increase your chances of living longer.  

              Increasing our potential to live longer through exercise was recently the topic of topic of study for a new research study done by the Mayo Clinic and the American Cancer Society.  Their study indicates that people, who sit for long periods of time burn fewer calories, are less sensitive to insulin and have lower levels of HDL or healthy cholesterol in their blood. All of this can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke. Even after one day of inactivity, these negative effects start to appear. Men who sit six hours or more during their leisure time have a 20% higher death rate than men who are more active. It is even worse for women. Their death rate is 40% higher if they are inactive!

              Where to start with exercise?   Small steps are important ones. 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 no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs or jogging.

              If you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, talk with your doctor to find out if your condition limits, in any way, your ability to be active. Then, work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities.

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