With the recent news that even small bouts of exercise lead to significant health benefits, the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, is urging adults to move more and make it count where they spend most of their time – at work.
“It doesn’t matter whether you get activity in short bursts of a few minutes or longer periods of time,” says Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP and American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention. “Any activity – even small, short bouts – will provide a health benefit. If you have been totally inactive and start exercising, you will benefit. But even if you’re already active, adding more movement adds even more benefit.”
Most adults spend the majority of their waking hours at work and find themselves with little time or energy left at the end of the day to exercise. Experts say those who struggle to carve out time for a separate workout should use any opportunity to sneak in physical activity throughout the day. Focusing on moving more and sitting less throughout the day can help – there is 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 or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of those activities, such as brisk walking, yoga or gardening. In addition, the Association recommends two days per week of moderate- to- high-intensity muscle strengthening activity, such as running, jumping rope or swimming laps.
April, known as Move More Month, is an opportunity to examine personal habits and strive to incorporate additional daily activity.
Here are some ideas to incorporate more movement into the workday from the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good™ initiative:
1. Take a walk on your lunch break. Don’t focus on the step count or the minutes, just move more when your schedule allows.
2. Increase your activity in simple ways around the office. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farthest from the door in the parking lot, convert conference room meetings to walking meetings or get up and walk to someone’s desk instead of sending email.
3. Schedule exercise on your calendar. Add exercise to your calendar and treat your scheduled time like an important meeting.
4. Find a partner. Having a partner to keep you accountable and motivated can be the key to keeping your healthy habits moving forward.
5. Take advantage of workplace wellness offerings. Ask your supervisor or human resources department what employee wellness resources and incentives are available.
Starting a journey to be more active at work can inspire colleagues and lead to a healthier workplace in addition to boosting personal health and wellbeing. Visit www.heart.org/movemoremonth for more tips and resources.