David E. Conroy, Pennsylvania State University And Sherry Pagoto, University of Connecticut
There is another time. The US Department of Health and Human Services has just released a new edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The sound you hear is that Americans sigh collectively.
To be honest, physical activity guidelines can be difficult. As a behavioral scientist with expertise in athletic motivation, we will first acknowledge that it is not easy to maintain a physically active lifestyle. This is what we do and we do not always achieve the goal. Life is often messy and often gets the best intentions. Take a deep breath, solve the new guidelines, and talk about your strategy.
According to the guidelines, all adults are encouraged to exercise at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week to increase heart rate. Elderly people should add balance exercises. Except for pregnant or nursing women, adults must weigh all of their major muscle groups at least twice a week.
This guideline also recommends that children and youth attend school for 180 minutes a week. Preschoolers must be active throughout the day. You might think right now. Who has time to do all this exercise?
The good news is that now the guidelines acknowledge that it is not necessary to get big time for exercise to gain health benefits. For the first time, the guidelines do not require physical activity to be valid for more than 10 minutes. All activities. So every day, going up and down the stairs at work is a goal (as long as the heart beats up).
The new guidelines also emphasize the message, "Move and sit less" to encourage everyone to do a bit more physical activity and spend some time. Physical activity is not all or nothing. There is a slight health benefit, so when you reach the guidelines, it seems overwhelming, but it's okay. Try a little more than yesterday. Whether or not you meet the guidelines, improvements are considered successful.
But how? And when?
If you feel overwhelming guidelines, you are not alone. This is one of the most common complaints about the guidance of people we have studied and consulted in thousands of athletic programs. People often feel desperate to dramatically change their lifestyles. One way to achieve a big goal is to divide it into smaller pieces.
Think of a marathon runner. New runners will not start running 26 miles. Each one has to stick to it. Divide monstrous targets into small pieces that grow steadily over the course of several months. New physical activity guidelines can be accessed in the same way. You can achieve big goals by tracking your progress, using more and more challenging goals, and celebrating achievements milestones.
The first goal you set up should be a very easy goal. So it's easy to think. "Oh, come on! It's so easy!" For example, exercise about 30 minutes a week. Can you increase to 35 minutes per week for the next three weeks? If you moor for 35 minutes for 2 to 3 weeks, you will hit for up to 40 minutes. Here the idea is slowly built up and familiarized with each step before moving on to the next step. Each step also improves stamina and conditioning, so the next step will not be much harder than before. From a time management point of view, it is much easier to sneak around here for five minutes than it is to find a 30-60 minute time block.
If you are far from 150 minutes now, forget about 150 now. I set a goal of "Oh, come on!" And move on from there. You can track your progress with a worn device, a smartphone application or an old pen and paper. However, when tracking progress, it is important that you have a plan to keep track of and keep trying to keep the bar up for yourself.
The best way to be healthy
Experts call physical activity "the best buy" in public health. And the guidelines are based on thousands of studies. Based on this evidence-based expert panel survey, exercise prolongs our lifespan, prevents annual weight gain, and reduces the risk of nearly all chronic diseases: cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many cancers. No other action can be good for your health. You can cash in later by investing a little time in your workout. Think of it as a 401K for a long, healthy and happy life.
Of course, we do not always make decisions for our long-term interests. We are making more decisions for immediate compensation, and it will take years for many health benefits of physical activity to emerge. Some may be hardly noticeable, such as preventing heart disease.
Fortunately, exercise has many immediate benefits. One of the biggest is the "feel good" effect later. People continue to be less focused, less stressful and rejuvenated after physical activity. In fact, research shows that regular physical activity can reduce depression and depression. It is equivalent to anti-depressive therapy or psychotherapy. We have only one movement that does not feel better than we do now.
A word of caution: Be careful not to be too careful too quickly. If you exercise hard, you may feel uncomfortable. Most people do not repeat activities that are offensive. If you want to keep a change of behavior, find something interesting and keep it interesting.
When you hear all the news about new physical activity guidelines, do not let it discourage you. Ask yourself, "How do you make it more fun to sit a little longer than I do now by moving a little more?"
You have this.
David E. Conroy, Professor of Exercise Science and Human Development (Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University) Pennsylvania State University Professor Sherry Pagoto, a professor of Allied Health Sciences, University of Connecticut
This article will be republished at The Conversation, under the Creative Commons license. Read the original article.