The first lady of the United States has a message for you: Get moving!
No doubt your doctor would agree.
Now that spring has finally sprung, we’ll no longer (we hope) be able to blame our lack of activity on snow, ice and cold.
Still, no one says you have to take up mountain biking or run a marathon. Sure, after Michelle Obama put out the word that her anti-obesity campaign Let’s Move! wanted to hear how Americans were moving, we got treated to a video of her husband and Vice President Joe Biden jogging through the White House.
But that’s just one way to get off your derriere.
Truth is, even standing up helps. “The more little bits of movement you do, the more calories you burn,” says physician Jennifer Tieman, clinic medical director at Goppert-Trinity Family Care in Kansas City.
The dangers of sitting too much have been in the news lately. A study found that the risk of heart failure doubled for men who sat for at least five hours a day outside of work and didn’t exercise much, compared to physically active guys who sat for less than two hours a day.
“Sitting disease” is also linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and death from cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Tieman says sitting around also weakens your core muscles, the abdominals as well as those in your lower back and hips.
“Having those muscles be weak gives a lot of people issues with back pain,” Tieman says.
Even if you do the recommended 150 minutes of heart-pumping exercise a week, chances are you still spend too much time sitting, says Marianne Goulding, manager of the Center for Health Enhancement at St. Luke’s Hospital, a gym for hospital employees and the community.
“You have to say, I’m going to get more activity in. I’m going to be more conscious about it,” Goulding says. “People are habit-driven, so they’re going to do what they’ve always done until they decide to break that.”
So get moving. Here are some easy ideas.
Exercise tips came from the local experts we interviewed as well as online sources.