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Living Healthy: Myth vs. Reality

A Little More Movement Can Have a Big Impact on Your Health

 

Myth:

To exercise, you have to work out for an hour at the gym.

Reality:

That’s a great goal that is sure to help you become healthier, but you can reap important benefits from simply being more active in small ways throughout the day.

You’ve heard it a million times: for good health, it’s important to exercise. After all, getting in shape can help you to feel better, live longer, and reduce your risk for many health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure, the leading causes of kidney disease. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the very thought of beginning an “exercise routine.” The fact is, though, that simply incorporating more movement into your daily routine can make a huge difference and can put you on the path to better health.

Some tips:

  • Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk to your office building or the store
  • Carry a basket at the grocery store, rather than pushing a cart
  • Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator
  • Pace around your house while talking on the phone
  • If you work in an office, stand up while you’re on the phone instead of sitting at your desk
  • Lift small weights while watching your favorite shows
  • Meet friends for a walk, rather than for drinks
  • Housework can often double as a workout—vacuuming, carrying full laundry baskets, gardening and the like can all add up

Of course, in addition to just moving around more during the day, you may want to begin dedicating some time each day to a particular exercise, such as walking. If you’ve been pretty inactive for a while, it’s a good idea to start slowly and gradually increase your activity. One way to do this is to break it up.  If your goal is to walk for 30 minutes a day, try walking for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes in the evening, instead of doing 30 minutes all at once. You’ll exercise for the same amount of time, but breaking it up at first can make it seem a lot more manageable. 

One of the most motivating ways to become more active is to Pair Up with someone else. Ask your co-worker to commit to taking the stairs with you after lunch each day, or ask your neighborhood friend to meet you for a walk each evening. When the two of you are Pairing Up to get more exercise, you’ll keep each other motivated during those times that one of you might otherwise skip it.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any type of exercise routine.

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