Health Hub

by Robin Gaudette

Last month, we talked about activity needed to maintain health (150 minutes per week), but aside from joining a gym, taking classes or getting a trainer we didn’t explore options to get your minutes in.

By the year 2030, one-in-five adults in the United States will be retirement age, outnumbering children under 18 for the first time in history. Many adults 65 or older need to or still want to be in the workforce. Aging baby boomers need to stay healthy and active to lessen the economic burden of rising healthcare costs.

Don’t have time for exercise? We know that cardiorespiratory fitness has a powerful outcome, because it is a risk factor you can modify to improve quality and longevity of life.

Start with small and simple changes, committing to goals that are doable. A simple solution is turning on YouTube or your cable stations. Both have great classes of all types that you can record and participate in when convenient.

Accountability to another individual is a positive motivator. Grab a friend, neighbor or the dog, get out and walk — start with a block and slowly increase the distance as you are more comfortable. Make a playlist of songs that get your toes tapping, move and groove to them as you clean house or prepare dinner. Make outside yard work your personal strength class.

Instead of bending over, do a squat or a lunge to pick up an object. Make a game of it by doing 3 squats before you pick up the object on the fourth.

Take a yard tool like a shovel or the weed whacker and do a few overhead presses or arm curls before you use it. Consider pulling and lifting activities as part of a great strengthening routine by focusing on proper posture and using your core.

Remember NEAT? Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT (Health Hub Sept 2017) is the creation of heat in our body that ultimately expends energy. Non-exercise activity is defined as anything that is not eating, sleeping or sports-like activities.

Many things can be in the non-exercise activity category — gardening, walking during the course of business or to work, typing, house cleaning and fidgeting. Extended sitting is a major health hazard leading to being more sedentary.

Activity trackers have proven to influence lifestyle choices and improve the commitment to change activity.

Challenge yourself to a “30 & 3” or a “20 & 2” challenge. This simply is moving for three minutes every 30 minutes or moving for two minutes every 20 minutes. Ideas that will boost NEAT are; marching in place, stand up — sit halfway down without touching chair – stand up again, rotate your torso and lunge, dance to a song.

If you have stairs at home or work use them. Set another challenge by, after going up and down the first time of the day, the next trip go up and down (or up and half-way down) the next time increasing it by an extra trip each time.

Again using your stairs as a prop, don’t use the handrail (unless for balance), focusing on posture and leg strength. If you don’t have a full flight of stairs, use an outside step to step up and off for a certain length of time.

A yoga practice or active stretching has many health benefits, including improving muscular strength and endurance, which will also assist with boosting NEAT.

The youngers have a saying, “keep it 100” or give it your 100% best every time. Let’s join them and go for “keep it 100 by going 150.”

— Robin Gaudette is the aquatics wellness coordinator at the Redmond Area Park and Recreation District. Contact her at robin.gaudette@raprd.org .

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