If you’re sitting down reading this, please stand up. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 15% of adults are physically inactive and the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is urging adults to reduce their sedentary time — in short, to sit less and move more.
Starting a journey to be more active can boost your personal health and well-being, and inspire others to do the same, according to the Association.
“Adding physical activity into your routine can be simple and does not need to be overwhelming. There are many small, achievable ways to be active throughout the day,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention. “Whether you have been totally inactive and are just beginning to exercise, or if you’re already active, more movement and less sedentary time will add up in a positive way for your overall health.”
Most adults spend an average of six to eight hours a day being sedentary, which includes driving, sitting, TV viewing and computer use. Experts say those who struggle to carve out time for physical activity should use any opportunity to sneak in physical activity throughout the day. Focusing on moving more and sitting less can help. There’s benefit to any physical activity, regardless of the length of the activity.
For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity such as brisk walking, yoga or gardening or 75 minutes of vigorous activity such as running, jumping rope or swimming laps, or a combination of those activities. In addition, the Association recommends two days per week of moderate-to high-intensity muscle strengthening activity, such as resistance training or lifting weights.
April, known as American Heart Association’s Move More Month, is a great opportunity to examine personal habits and increase daily activity. Here are some ideas to move more throughout the day:
- Set a timer. Avoid being sedentary for too long and set a reminder to move around for five minutes every hour or 10 minutes every two hours.
- Be creative at home. Find more ways to get up and off the couch by taking a walk or doing a few push-ups between episodes of a TV show. Active chores like vacuuming and cleaning up after dinner count too.
- Don’t wait. Make it a habit to work out right after work or school. If you stop at home, you may be tempted to skip it.
- Find forms of exercise you like. Experiment with workouts that fit your personality, location and schedule. You’ll be more likely to stick with it.
- Move more at work. Schedule walking meetings or make it a habit to stand every time you make or answer a phone call.
Looking for ways to celebrate Move More Month? Download our toolkit to keep physical activity top of mind all month long!
Visit www.heart.org/movemoremonth for more tips and resources.
Senior communications director for the American Heart Association in New Jersey, Lehigh Valley and Northeast PA. Dedicated to being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.