The medical experts at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS) revealed new recommendations to help get and keep Americans of all ages fitter and healthier. The good news? Even brief bouts of physical activity — mowing your lawn, raking leaves, taking the stairs, parking further away — can be added to the weekly goal of 150 minutes of recommended physical activity.
What does that really mean? I’ll do the math for you: if you break down 150 minutes into 7 days, that’s a bit over 20 minutes a day of figuring out ways to move your body. That’s not hard. Think about it: if you walk your dog even once a day (assuming you share this totally wonderful responsibility with others in your household), you’re probably close to speed-walking with Rover for about 15 – 30 minutes. That counts! And if you walk your dog several times a day, well . . . you are doing far more than the majority of Americans.
The goal is to get people thinking about fitness in terms of ‘moving’ instead of ‘exercise’.
During the presentation of the new guidelines at the American Heart Association (AHA), Adm. Brett Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for health at HHS, said if just a quarter of sedentary Americans hit the recommended activity level, over 75,000 premature deaths would be prevented each year.
I’ve been talking about the psychological and physical benefits of taking small steps to better health for years. It’s been my mission to encourage people to think about ‘moving’ instead of ‘exercising’ and how it comes down to a choice we make each and every day. In my new book, Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life (National Geographic 2018), I share what happens if you choose not to move your body, and none of it is promising. (PS: Love Your Age won the prestigious Gold IPPY Award in the “Health & Wellness category”! Yay!)
However, I also tell readers what happens whey they choose to move even a little more each day, and the results are astounding:
- People, especially those between 40 and 64, who move their bodies regularly show fewer signs of aging in their cells.
- Dying prematurely is greatly reduced by becoming ‘metabolically fit’ as a result of moving more.
- Moving more helps keep common diseases and illness — diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers — at bay.
Not only that, but moving your body helps you sleep better, be stronger, and dramatically increases your chances of living a vibrant, engaged live as you age. Moving your body increases blood circulation, which means more oxygen going not only to your muscles but also to your brain, boosting concentration and memory. That’s why taking a 10-minute walk break in the afternoon can actually make you more productive than sitting at your desk for another hour. And hey, your jeans will look better, too.
If you haven’t done any kind of planned physical activity in years (if ever), don’t despair!! Remember: every time you move your body, it is adding to your life in extremely positive ways. Of course, once you’re on a roll, I hope you’ll also consider pushing yourself just a little more, like taking long, speedy walks, running, strength-training, and so on. Until then, consider a few easy small steps: standing more, walking around when talking on the phone, investing in a portable standing desk, and my favorite: adopting a dog.
There are loads of ways to move your body, and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it. Not sure where to begin? Check out my book for the latest science-backed tips on how to take small steps to a better, longer, happier life!
Want to order a copy right now? Click here!