A lifestyle without regular physical activity has been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular illness, cancer, osteoporosis, and other debilitating conditions. Despite the risks, a large proportion of people remain inactive. The 2012 Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System survey found nearly one-in-four Iowans reported having no physical activity during leisure times (outside of regular work activities).
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week plus two or more days per week of muscle-strengthening activities. “You can achieve these goals just by being active throughout the day,” said Sarah Taylor Watts, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Iowa Department of Public Health. “Three 10-minute bouts of physical activity per day are just as effective as 30 minutes all at once.”
By exercising at least 150 minutes per week, you can gain many health benefits including:
· Lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
· Weight gain prevention
· Improvements in thinking and judgment skills
Plus, physical activity can also go beyond its health benefits. It can be a fun activity that you can do with friends and family. It can also help enhance your appearance and increase your confidence.
The workplace is an ideal location to add more physical activity into your daily schedule. It can be surprisingly easy to get active while still completing your work. Here are a few simple ways to jumpstart your healthy and successful lifestyle:
· Take the stairs instead of the elevator- you burn more calories without the wait
· Write activity into your daily calendar
· Set weekly activity goals, and recruit co-workers to join
· Take brief walk breaks throughout the day
· Use restrooms on different levels by taking the stairs
· Take out your own trash
· Host walking meetings or chats by dedicating a portion of your meeting or break to walking
· Lastly, any activity is better than no activity, so get moving!
Live Healthy Iowa, a program of the Iowa Sports Foundation, has ongoing worksite wellness challenges to promote physical activity and nutrition. The Iowa Community Transformation Grant through the Iowa Department of Public Health has partnered with Live Healthy Iowa to promote the worksite challenges. To sign up for a wellness challenge, visit www.livehealthy.org. To learn more about the Iowa Community Transformation Grant, go to www.idph.state.ia.us/ctg.