Ahh summer! The outdoors beckon you to soak in the sun and relish being outside. One of the best ways to welcome and enjoy the warmer season is to get moving, whether it’s by walking, running, swimming or other outdoor sports. Here are 12 tips from the Move It Monday initiative, on how to safely and sustainably keep moving towards health and fitness. Move It Monday is an international campaign encouraging people of all fitness levels to kick off the week with exercise. It offers simple workouts, tips and inspiration to help individuals, worksites, schools, and communities incorporate physical activity into their weekly routines.
1. Get the Green Light
Moderate exercise is beneficial to almost everyone, but those with asthma, diabetes, arthritis, or heart, lung and kidney disease must take special care. If you have these or other limiting health conditions, check in with your doctor. You should also consult with a physician if you’d like to engage in vigorous activity and are over 55, mostly inactive, smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease.
Get ready for your healthy goals by making a doctor’s appointment this Monday. Start off with a green light and you’ll be racing to the finish in no time!
2. Make the First Move
Regular physical activity benefits every part of your body and may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and more. While it’s recommended that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week, every bit is better than nothing! It’s important to start moving and gradually increase intensity and duration.
3. Get in the Habit
Keep exercise in your life by making it part of your daily routine. An activity habit makes you less likely to stop moving (and more likely to start back up if you do). It’s easy to keep going when fitness is just as routine as brushing your teeth or combing your hair!
Think of ways you can add motion to your everyday. Plan extra steps in your commute or try activity during lunch or after work. Make it fit into your daily life by including your kids, pets or business calls.
4. Revive your Routine
Having a consistent fitness routine is the easiest way to make activity part of your daily life. When planning your exercise, aim for SMART moves (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely): pick a time, place and activity that fits into your life and stick with it! Find three places in your schedule this week where you can fit fitness. It may be in the morning, during your lunch break, before dinner or in the evening. Recommit to these times at the end of the week, or adjust your workout schedule if need be.
5. Make the Extra Mile Worthwhile
As you increase time, duration or switch up activities, you should reward yourself for your progress! Keep a journal tracking these smaller milestones so you can see how far you’ve come and get motivated for the next step. Little incentives like new workout gear, books, movies or smartphone apps can make fitness fun and push you to go further.
6. Don’t Be Late to Hydrate
While thirst is generally a good indicator of hydration, summertime heat combined with physical activity can lead to dehydration and other related illnesses. Aim for 15-20 ounces of water two hours before exercise and have a water bottle with you during workouts. Stay hydrated this week by getting into the water bottle habit! Carry yours with you full-time to quench your thirst throughout the day.
7. Make the Most of Your Muscles
Muscle-strengthening activities build power and endurance, so your muscles can do more for longer. Push-ups, sit-ups and weight-lifting are well-known exercises, but resistance bands, digging, shoveling and yoga can also build your muscles. Work each muscle group on two, non-consecutive days of the week to get the most out of your efforts.
8. Bulk Up Your Bones
During bone-strengthening activities—like walking, running and jump rope- your feet, legs or arms support your body’s weight. This causes your muscles to push up against your bones, strengthening them. Many bone-strengthening activities also happen to be aerobic, giving you more for your work-out.
9. What’s Your Intensity?
There are varying degrees of exercise intensity. Light-intensity activity, like cooking or shopping, doesn’t require much effort. Moderate-intensity activities like a brisk walk of flat bike ride work your heart, lungs, and muscles, causing you to sweat. Vigorous-intensity activities increase your heart rate enough that you are breathing hard and fast.
Develop a diverse workout this week by incorporating something from every intensity level. Remember that fitness level and abilities vary from person to person, so you may find an exercise to be more or less intense than your peers.
10. No Membership Required
Think you have to go to the gym to get a good work-out? Think again! Physical activity is any movement that works your muscles and uses more energy than resting. So go swimming, dancing, walking, try yoga or work in your garden.
Break up the fitness monotony this week by adding an original activity. Try something that you’ve always wanted to do, but never thought of as exercise.
11. Go Take a Walk
Over 60 percent of adults don’t achieve the recommended amount of movement; 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Walking for just 22 minutes each day can help you reach the aerobic activity recommendation. Plus it’s easy to fit in on your commute, during your lunch break or while you’re running errands!
Fill in your fitness gaps this week by adding walking to your routine. Find twenty minutes or more each day and try a few sessions at a faster pace.
12. Don’t Walk Alone—Invite your Community
Start a walking group in your community. Move It Monday’s free downloadable “Start a Monday Mile in Your Community’ toolkit offers useful tips and insights and gives the reasons why. For example, The Monday Mile can help bring people together; providing an opportunity for socializing and physical activity. It can help everyone start off the week to a fresh start. Check out the free guide at Move It Monday
Cherry Dumaual, PR and Partnerships Director, The Monday Campaigns. Visit MoveIt Monday.org for more simple workouts, tips and inspiration to help individuals, worksites, schools, and communities incorporate physical activity into their weekly routines.