Now that things are feeling pretty much back to normal from a grueling one and a half year global pandemic, it’s time to recover our lives and build back healthy habits to stay active. One unfortunate side effect of the pandemic has been the development of widespread inactivity. From the directive to stay and work at home to schools and gyms closing, any existing structure to our daily lives was lost, and the baby was thrown out with the bath water when our exercise routines quickly vanished.
Regular activity makes you feel good about yourself which in turn causes you to make better lifestyle decisions. Habits like overeating, smoking or drinking too much alcohol are all potential drains on your newfound energy. Inactivity is linked to higher chances of developing long term diseases including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression to name a few. Check out these 7 easy ideas to get back into an active lifestyle:
Going for regular walks and getting fresh air does more for you than trim your waistline. Walking strengthens your heart which wards off heart disease. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can significantly lessen your chances of suffering a heart attack and stroke. Additionally, walking will strengthen your bone mass and support your joints. The more you move, the more nutrient and vitamin rich blood circulates throughout your body, especially towards the weaker areas that need it the most. According to Harvard School of Public Health,
“Women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and 40% when they increase their pace.”
Taking regular walks is the best thing you can do to build the foundation of a healthy, active lifestyle.
Establishing habits of regular cleaning, from vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing will burn calories, and get your blood circulating. Lugging around a heavy vacuum throughout the house, up and down the stairs, and scrubbing the lime and mildew out from the shower is a great way to get exercise with added practical benefits.
Instead of devoting an entire day every week to cleaning the house, spread out your major cleaning tasks throughout the week. This gives you a chance to exercise daily, and enjoy the satisfaction of a clean house all the time. Other house work like hanging laundry to dry outside, tending to the flowers and mowing the lawn have the added benefit of getting some fresh air and vitamin D.
There are a few ways to make your regular trips to the grocery store more active. For starters, park your car further away from your intended destination. This will allow you to fit more walking into your day, and on your way back, a little more weight lifting from carrying your newly purchased goods back to the car.
Use a basket instead of a cart when you are making a quick stop at the grocery store. This impromptu weightlifting workout works especially well if you are a spontaneous shopper!
When traveling shorter distances, walking and biking are great for building cardiovascular strength and muscle. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator whenever you have the chance. Regularly climbing stairs is an easy way to increase muscle and bone density. And if you take the bus, get off a stop or two early to fit some more steps into your day.
Swirling around the kitchen gathering ingredients, chopping, and of course doing the dishes, is a great way to work in some added activity into your day. Do some squats or one-legged balance exercises as you wait for the pot to boil, or the coffee to brew. To make it even more fun and inspiring, turn up the tunes while you whip up dinner and dance.
Dancing and regular cooking will leave you feeling happier and healthier. Not only will dancing, get your heart pumping and your body grooving, it improves balance and strength and best of all, it boosts cognitive function and challenges your brain. In a 2017 study on dancing and brain activity, it was found that dancing improved the condition of white matter in aging adults.
Whether it’s soccer with your kids or chasing your dog around the backyard, playing is a sure way to boost your mood and heart rate. If you are a busy parent, struggling to find time to exercise, plan family gatherings and activities around a physical activity. Take hikes together, go cycling or swimming. Go to places as a family where you will spend a lot of time walking, like amusement parks or the zoo. If you are at work, lunch time walking and running sessions and walking to a nearby restaurant for lunch with colleagues is a treat with health benefits.
At Synergy Health Advisors in New Jersey, we work with our patients to identify, treat and prevent chronic disease through developing an individualized care plan to fit your unique needs and schedule. We offer in office as well as in house laboratory tests, physician consultations and guarantee quick results and follow ups.
We are your partner in your journey to optimal health, and with you every step of the way.