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‘Make a Move’ for a healthier lifestyle

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From the Holladay Health Corner

Written by Amanda Watson, Marketing Director (Portage, IN) with references created by United HealthCare Services, Inc.

Holladay is committed to supporting the physical, financial and professional health and well-being of each other and those we serve. In support of this value, Holladay has joined with UMR Care Management to provide more ways to help our associates live the healthiest life possible. Currently, our company is participating in the second of three wellness challenges offered though the company’s health insurance provider – The Make a Move Challenge.

While this challenge is specifically meant to help those enrolled with UMR to earn wellness premiums, the idea behind The Make a Move Challenge is something that everyone can benefit from and so everyone should know about. The challenge encourages individuals to take steps to maintain or adopt an active lifestyle by recording their daily physical activity during a 6-week period. The goal of the challenge is to build or maintain healthy habits. 

There are several ways you can increase your physical activity daily, and many reasons why you should. 

The Benefits of Physical Activity

  • Controls weight
  • Combats health conditions and diseases
  • Improves mood
  • Boosts energy
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Boosts confidence in your physical appearance
  • It is fun!

One of the key benefits of physical activity is weight control. Physical activity burns excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. Most foods and drinks contain calories, but the good news is that everything you do uses calories, including sleeping, breathing, digesting food, and moving around. It is important to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn through physical activity to control weight.

Experts recommend 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity per week or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week. Are you doing enough? If you need ideas to increase your level of psychical activity, keep reading!

Ways to Be More Active

Rather than doing all your exercise at once to be physically active, most experts suggest spreading out physical activity throughout the week. In fact, you can break up your activity into brief bits of moderate- or high-intensity activities that last for at least 10 minutes. This amount of physical activity can reduce risk of developing some chronic diseases as well as give you more energy and improve your mood. 

Here are some activities you can start doing today to reap the benefits of physical activity:

  • Gardening
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Walk the dog
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park further away from building entrances
  • Play with children
  • Go for a walk at your own pace
  • Ride a bike
  • Jump rope
  • Go bowling
  • Try yoga or Pilates
  • Go for a hike
  • Go for a swim or try water aerobics
  • Go for a jog or a run
  • Try rock climbing
  • Play a team sport
  • Dance
  • Lift weights
  • Kayak or canoe
  • Roller blade

And if you’re someone who doesn’t have time for exercise, here are some ways to incorporate small intervals into your day:

  • Take a 10-minute walk during a break or your lunch
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier and do something active in the morning 
  • Do your household and/or outdoor chores at a faster pace to get your heart pumping
  • Pace while you’re talking on the phone (just try not to disrupt other people while you do it)
  • Exercise during TV commercials
  • Take an extra lap or two at the store when you’re shopping
  • Keep your physical activity interesting by doing various activities and not sticking to just one

How to Increase Your Level of Physical Activity

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, increasing your physical activity is possible, and can have physical and mental benefits. Here are recommendations to increase your physical activity, depending on your current level.

Light Intensity

  • Take it slow to begin with
  • Stretch for at least 5 minutes a day to decrease the chance of injury
  • Start with 5-10 minutes of moderate activity at a time, do it 3 times per day, and then increase the minutes as you gain strength
  • Celebrate success and reward yourself frequently
  • Set a goal of 30 minutes a day at short intervals for 5 days

Moderate Intensity

  • Start slowly, and stretch for at least 5 minutes a day to decrease your chance of injury
  • Develop a support system with people who will help you
  • Start with 10-15 minutes of moderate activity three times a day, and increase the minutes as you get stronger
  • Celebrate success and reward yourself frequently
  • Set a goal of 30 minutes a day in brief intervals for 5 days a week

Moderate/Hard Intensity

  • Develop a support system with people who can help you maintain your level of physical activity
  • Stretch for 5 to 10 minutes each day to decrease your chance of injury
  • Start with a goal of 30 minutes of moderate activity each day and increase the minutes and the type of activity (i.e. select more intense activities) as you feel stronger
  • Celebrate success and reward yourself frequently
  • Try to include 10 minutes of strength exercises a day 

High Intensity

  • Maintain your support system to continue your level of physical activity
  • Stretch for 10 minutes a day to decrease your chance of injury
  • Continue your high intensity physical activities with a goal of 30 minutes a day most days of the week
  • Keep it interesting by incorporating a variety of physical activities into your routine
  • Include 10 minutes of strength exercises a day 
  • Celebrate success and reward yourself frequently

There’s no single, best way to fit physical activity into your day, so choose the solutions that work best for you. Try to fit a few intervals into each day and remember to have fun!

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