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Safe & Fun Ways to Move More while Physically Distancing
Staying home and physically distancing can help flatten the curve, but it can also lead to a sedentary existence. Discover simple, safe ways to incorporate movement into your everyday life.
There are those who thrive off the endorphin rush of a grueling workout. But for many, sweat-inducing, muscle-aching sessions aren’t a delightful part of the day.
Add to that the desire to stay out of gyms and away from groups — and suddenly it’s easy to see why many of us forgo ‘working out’. In fact, in June of 2018, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics revealed that only 23% of Americans were getting enough exercise. And, that number is doing nothing but rise!
Heck, even those who are up before sunrise with every intention of getting in an at-home spin session often find a reason to skip it. But more we skip said workouts, the more guilt we assume and the more likely we are to keep skipping them.
Cut yourself some slack. The benefits of movement aren’t an all-or-nothing game. It’s possible (and dar we say easy?) to burn more calories without becoming a fitness guru.
5 Health Benefits of Movement
A grinding workout isn’t the only way to improve your overall health. The benefits of movement are cumulative. Even just three 10-minute breaks strolling around the house can have a profound impact. According to science, these benefits include, but are not limited to:
1. Inflammation Reduction
Inflammation can contribute to a variety of health concerns, including cancer.
Over time, chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer. For example, people with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease, have an increased risk of colon cancer.
Luckily, even just a 20-minute moderate workout can have a measurable impact on the immune system. In a research study looking at the measured levels of TNF (an inflammatory marker), researchers found that just one short workout reduced the number of these inflammation-inducing immune cells by 5%.
2. Reduced Risk of Heart Attack & Stroke
There’s no denying the cardiovascular effects of movement are related to inflammation. However, the reduced risk of heart attack and stroke are worthy of a category all their own. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high insulin sensitivity are all warning signals that a patient may be at risk of a heart attack or a stroke.
Regular exercise can help improve these health issues. Working out can help clear blocked arteries, improving blood pressure. It can lower the body’s retention of bad cholesterol. And, it can make you less insulin sensitive.
3. Reduces the Risk of Dementia
Worried about dementia? Research shows that physical exercise may be one of the best preventative treatments for dementia. Physical activity plays a huge role in cognitive function, This is because movement inherently asks the brain to utilize multiple senses. At a minimum, exercise asks the body to process:
And generally, there’s also some deductive thinking involved to accomplish a task — even if this is as everyday as walking around the block.
4. Slow the Body’s Natural Aging Process
There’s no stopping Father Time. But recent studies, like the 2017 study ‘Physical activity and telomere length in U.S. men and women: An NHANES investigation’ published in Preventive Medicine, show that you can help extend how much time you get.
The study found a correlation between longer life and longer caps at the ends of chromosomes. These caps, called telomeres, naturally shorten as we age. The telomeres among those who exercise appear to shorten at a slower rate than those who don’t — effectively extending their lifespan with each calorie burn session.
5. Promotes Mental Well Being
Worldwide, depression is the leading disability. The effects can range from mild disinterest in daily activities and debilitating sadness to self-harm. But studies have consistently shown that exercise can help treat depression without the use of pills. Because exercise helps the body naturally produce serotonin, it can boost your mood naturally.
11 Ways to Burn More Calories While Physically Distancing
According to researchers at Kansas State University, taking a flexible approach to movement can help build confidence, decrease barriers, and increase overall movement. Use some, or all, of the following ideas to add movement to your day, without adding stress or guilt.
1. Netflix & Bounce
Have you and your couch become well acquainted since February 2019? How about we become a little less-acquainted. Rather than posting up in the corner of your sectional, consider sitting on an inflatable exercise ball. Simply bouncing can increase the blood flow to your legs. And if you’re looking to give your core a bit of love, try balancing on one foot or leaning back and doing small sit ups.
2. Make Your Coffee Break a Twofer
Does a caffeine buzz keep your day rolling smoothly? Add a little extra juju to your cup with a small burst of endorphins. While grabbing your coffee, do a quick set of push-ups, squats or jumping jacks.
3. Step it Up During Commercials
Rather than sit through commercials and twiddle your thumbs, stand up and march in place. You could get as many as 500-1,000 steps during a 1-hour show.
4. Move with the Baby
Finding it challenging as a new mom to get back in the movement grove? You’re not alone! Time is precious, especially if you’re trying to work while raising a little one. Rather than sit and watch your baby play, get up and move. Even just pacing the room can raise your heart rate slightly and help you burn a few extra calories.
5. Keep a Set of Weights Close By
Never quite sure when you can fit in a few sets of curls and presses? Keep a set of light weights in a convenient place (like near the kitchen). When you have three or four minutes, skip the Facebook scroll and knock out a quick set.
6. Park at the Back of the Lot
Making a trip to the grocery store of a Target run? Park at the very back of the lot. Those extra steps add up.
7. Move While You Wait
Whether you’re waiting in the carpool lane or for your favorite Mexican takeout, nothing says you have to do so sitting. Get out of your car and move. Walk around your car. Do mini squats. Balance on one foot. The whole idea is get out of your seat and activate your body.
8. Shoot Some Hoops
There’s nothing like a friendly game of H-O-R-S-E to get the family off their phones and moving. Up the stakes to get everyone interested by letting the winner pick what’s for dinner.
9. Learn a Choreographed Dance
These times they are a tick-tocking and that’s just what they do. So go ahead and get yourself a tick-tock dance too. Pick a fun song and then learn a choreographed dance with a friend or family member — they can always be practiced and performed at a distance!
10. Walk for Dessert
Whether you’re going to indulge in dessert or not, make sure you head outside first. You can always start small with a walk around the block and then build up as your stamina increases.
11. Enjoy a Local Hike
Immersing yourself in Mother Nature is a great way to forget you’re working out. Check out your local hikes when you can move beyond the suburban sidewalks and see plants and animals in their natural habitat. Here in Santa Rosa, we're blessed to have several great hikes nearby. Discover five of our favorites!
Get the Support You Need to Develop a Healthy Lifestyle
Making a lasting change is easier said than done — especially when you’re trying to make said change on your own. In some instances, simple things like unbalanced hormone levels could be holding you back. Or it may be you need help identifying trends that are negatively impacting your life.
The naturopathic doctors at Premier Integrative work closely with you to provide the support and guidance you need to achieve the life you want.