While most of us recognize the importance of regular exercise, we too find it difficult to squeeze daily exercise into our increasingly busy schedules. If time and money are hindering your family’s fitness goals, try walking! While aerobic exercise and strength training are essential, studies indicate that we can reduce our risk for disease and lead a longer, healthier life if we increase our overall physical activity each day. The benefits of living an active lifestyle are endless and go further than just fighting heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Regular exercise promotes strong muscles and bones, decreases blood pressure and cholesterol levels; helps improve brain function and can reduce stress.
According to the Surgeon General, a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking can produce short- and long-term health benefits. A fitness model based on counting our daily steps is gaining traction. On average, 10,000 steps at a moderate intensity through the day are enough for most people to reach the minimum 30 minute target.
Best of all, 10,000 steps per day does not require a gym membership or fancy exercise equipment. You simply need to invest in and wear a pedometer daily. Of course, remember the goal this month is family fitness, so if we want our children to value healthy and active lifestyles, we need to model those choices for them.
If you are presently inactive, it is important to work up slowly to avoid injury. Begin with tracking average steps taken per day for a week or so to get a baseline. Thereafter, a reasonable goal for most people is to increase average daily steps each week by 500 per day until you can easily average 10,000 per day. It is important to check with your primary care provider before beginning any new exercise routine.
If you or your family is looking for ways establish and maintain a healthier lifestyle and reduce the risk of injury and/or disease or if you are in need of other medical attention, Portneuf Primary Care’s knowledgeable staff can quickly access health conditions and establish an effective plan of treatment. Remember, families that play together, stay together and we are here to help you reach your health goals.