Did you know that 7 out of 10 deaths in the US are directly related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer? Specifically, 9 out of every 10 cases of type 2 diabetes are directly related to lifestyle choices.
There are countless ways we can reduce our risk and it starts with the simple choices we make every day in regards to our activity & eating patterns. Think about what has worked for you in the past & use those successes to set a goal for today and the future. Here are a couple of suggestions on how to get going…
1) Find a partner
Whether it be your spouse, children, parents, grandkids, neighbor or puppy dog, exercise with them. You can create your own culture of health by making fitness something you do together regularly. Don’t forget, children are recommended to get 60 minutes of exercise each and every day. Adults are recommended to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 days per week. Help those you care about meet (or beat) those guidelines.
2) Schedule time for movement
Sitting all day is unhealthy and at the same time, most of us spend our workdays slouched in front of a computer screen. Pencil exercise breaks into your calendar (think stretches, arm circles, tricep dips or, gulp, lunges and even squats). Try to stand instead of sit at work or host walking meetings/breaks during the day. And don’t forget about those beloved stairs – they add built-in workouts to your day.
3) Find your joy
If you don’t like running like your marathon-addict friend, it’s simple: find an activity or hobby that brings YOU happiness. It’s the key to long-term success! Gardening in your backyard or a stroll through the park? Team kickball or fitness classes? Favor the activities that bring you the most enjoyment.
4) Get outdoors and walk
Yes, walking is enough! Putting one foot in front of the other will lead to improvements in mental and physical health. Pump those arms and pick up the pace. In Colorado, we are lucky to have over 300 days a year of sunny, blue sky days. So step outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun on your skin. Plus, being outside is an instant, 100% all-natural pick-me-up. Give it a try!
5) Everything in moderation including moderation
If you miss a day of exercise, don’t worry about it and hop back on the bandwagon. But be sure to check yourself for excuses too. Unmotivated after a long, hard day? Challenge yourself to only 5 minutes of exercise…I bet after you reach 5 minutes, you’ll be glad you started.
Remember: something is always better than nothing. What are you waiting for? Get up, get moving, get ahead!
Written by: Kayla Harris, MS
Workforce Health Consultant, Kaiser Permanente