Put Some Pep In Your Step!
Exercise can improve blood flow, brain memory, improve your sleep, decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and improve mental health. It is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity activities each week. Moderate intensity exercise would include things like a brisk walk, swimming, dancing or biking. Start with what you can and gradually work your way up to 150 minutes per week.
Exercise can improve brain health. By pumping your heart, you also pump more oxygen to your brain increasing the blood flow. Exercise also creates new connections in the brain by stimulating brain cells and blood vessels.
One small step and one giant leap?
An easy way to get your heart pumping is to go for a walk. A lot of people these days have fitness trackers or pedometers that can count the steps you take throughout the day.
Don’t focus on the numbers. Maybe 10,000 steps is not realistic for you. Don’t focus on this number of steps. It is better to get up and be active regardless of the step count than to be discouraged that you didn’t hit your step count. Your goal is YOUR goal. Not anyone else’s goal. Focus on you and your goal and get up and move!
Ways to get those extra steps without doing exercises!
There are many ways to add physical activity into your daily routine without having to actually do exercise at all. Check out some examples below.
- Balance skills to help prevent falls while watching your favorite tv show. Stand on one foot or try to walk backwards.
- Take your dog for a walk.
- If you have grandchildren, take them to the park.
- Window shop at the mall.
- Take the stairs when able.
- Park your car a little farther when going to the grocery store.
- Do chores around the house like vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, and yard work.
- Turn on some music and dance around.
- Try yoga.
Regardless of the activity, it is important to get up and move around not only for mental health but for your brain health and your heart.
Co-written by Katie Wolf, graduate dietetic intern, and Heather Borders, Registered Dietitian with Kailo Nutrition.