It’s not just lyrics to an iconic 80’s song but more importantly an emphasis we should try to achieve. I think we all know by now that being physically active has a multitude of both mental and physical benefits.
Now I’m not saying we all need to go compete in a feat of strength or run a marathon. The amount or intensity of your physical activity depends on you! What I mean by this is that you should look to participate in activities that:
1) you enjoy
2) compare well to your current level of fitness and
3) can be sustained
If you don’t enjoy lifting weights then that’s fine. I wouldn’t hope to have you bench press for a one repetition maximum (1RM) if you hadn’t competed in any sort of resistance training in 3 months because from what I know about you that wouldn’t be a sustainable form of physical activity.
Do not feel obligated to stay physically active via the traditional means (resistance training/stationary cardiovascular exercise) but do feel obligated to stay physically active by any means that speak to you. Find whatever that may be whether it’s walking, hula hooping or throwing rocks. It doesn’t matter! As long as you’re moving for anywhere from 10-15 minutes 3-5 times a day that’s great!
You may ask why it is so important to try and stay “physically active”. Well sadly our culture has developed into one of sedentary behaviors and instant gratification. Work, studies and life have us sitting on an average of 11.5 hrs each day! That’s a lot of sitting! This is beginning to have a serious effect on our general fitness (flexibility, strength, aerobic capacity) but more importantly our overall health. But, we have the tools to take a “stand” and fight back. Unfortunately, the 60 minutes we might be able to squeeze in during our lunch breaks 2-3 times per week won’t cut it anymore. Yes, that is great if it’s all you can manage but your primary focus should be frequency (the number of times you are able to move in a single day). Breaking up these long bouts of sitting will prove to offset the harmful effects of sedentary behavior much more than the 30-60 minute workout you might squeeze in 2-3 times per week.
Here are some suggestions:
- Incorporate a mindful practice first thing in the morning. Whether it’s journaling, meditation or light static stretching.
- Break up long periods of work at the desk with 5-8 minute walks outside.
- Take the opportunity to walk to class or meetings.
- Incorporate desk stretches when sitting at your desk for longer periods of time. Focus on hip flexors/quads, upper back/shoulders and neck.
- Start small and progress from there. Consistency and small incremental changes will pay off much more than periodic impractical workouts.
If you’d like some more examples, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Our guest blogger today is Reed Phinisey. Reed is Coordinator, Fitness and Wellness, for UC Davis Campus Recreation and Unions, a part of Student Affairs. His office is in the Fitness and Wellness Center in the Activities and Recreation Center on the UC Davis Campus and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.