Health Notes

We Are Born To Move

by Brenda L Herrod, MSN, APRN-BC on August 9, 2017

Our ancestors did not “work out.” They lived by moving. They ran after animals for meat, gathered berries, and squatted to build a fire and cook. They carried water and slept on the ground.

Today we drive to the store, buy packaged food, heat it in the microwave, or better yet, drive thru for fast food. Water comes out of the sink. We sit all day at work on our computers, relax on the couch at night in front of the TV, and have the excuse that we are too tired or don’t have time to exercise.

Our modern daily lifestyle has made us forget about the importance of movement. Life has gotten pretty easy for us in our age of technology. Sitting and lack of movement has led to nearly all health conditions – back and hip issues, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It has resulted in 70 percent of the U.S. population suffering from obesity.  Our risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity increases when we sit for long periods of time. Metabolism slows, muscles are shut off, and connective tissue tightens.

Not only is exercise at the gym important, you should also move while accomplishing the rest of your day to prevent poor circulation, inflammation and damage to your peripheral arteries.

So how can you get more movement in your day?

1. Take a walk. Use a Fitbit or step tracker and you will be amazed at how motivated you are to move. Aim for 10,000 steps per day. Set a timer to get an alert to move 250 steps per hour. Even 3-5 minute walks per day can help reverse the harm of prolonged sitting.

2. Hold walking meetings when possible. Stand, stretch or walk when on the phone. If you are in a sitting meeting, keep some part of your body in motion. Move your legs, or tap your feet. This takes energy and burns extra calories. Shift your position frequently when sitting.

3. Take the stairs. Many times stairs are quicker than waiting for the elevator. Walking the stairs is great exercise and burns more calories than jogging.

4. Walk your dog. Walking is essential for your dog’s health and mental well-being too. If you don’t have a dog, walk with a friend or family member. Positive social interactions reduce stress. Walk by yourself if you prefer. It is a great time to reflect on your day and a peaceful time.

Brenda L. Herrod, MSN, APRN-BC, Methodist Health System
Brenda L. Herrod, MSN, APRN-BC

5. Sit on the floor once or twice a day. This uses your knees, hips and ankles, and will increase your flexibility. Be aware of having a good posture throughout the day. Sit in different chairs – some that are soft, some hard and a variety of heights.

6. Walk to do your errands and park farther away. You will be get more steps, be at lower risk for “door dings,” and your car will be easier to find in a big parking lot.

7. Move during the commercials. If you enjoy watching TV, use the commercial breaks to do pushups, sit ups, squats or run up the stairs.

8. Plant a garden. The bending, pulling, digging movements that come with gardening are physically, mentally and spiritually good for you. Be aware of your movements while cleaning or doing yard work.

The more you move, the better your body will function. You will feel better, be more healthy and productive and improve your quality of life.

If you would like more ideas on how to incorporate movement into your day, check out the video below or speak with your Methodist Physicians Clinic primary care provider.

Brenda Herrod is a board certified women’s health nurse practitioner,
AFAA Certified Personal Trainer, C.O.P.E. Certified Health Coach, and Precision Nutrition Health Coach working with employees at Methodist Health System.
Contact Brenda at MethodistPR@nmhs.org.
Brenda L. Herrod, MSN, APRN-BC, Methodist Health System

 

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