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Shelly Barnes: Make a pledge to be a body in motion

Shelly Barnes • Updated Oct 31, 2017 at 11:30 PM

We have all heard the saying, “a body in motion stays in motion.” Getting into the habit of exercising on a regular basis is essential to optimal health, both physically and mentally.  

It is easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle where we sit more than move.  The key is to get started moving and then keep the momentum going.

Start with a plan. Exercise doesn’t happen unless it is a conscious decision. Think about what time works best for you – are you an early morning person or an after dinner or work person? Set a consistent time for exercise. 

Next, think about what you like to do. If you don’t enjoy your workout, you are less likely to continue. Do you love walking outside or do you prefer to swim? Do you prefer group exercise such as a class at a gym or do you prefer working out in your own home? Fit your exercise routine to your lifestyle and personality.

Walking is a great exercise that doesn’t require any equipment other than a good pair of shoes. Walking burns an average of 305 calories an hour, and you can increase your speed or terrain to increase the intensity. Experts recommend mixing things up in your walking routine to maximize your workout. Inclines and intervals can make walking more challenging and fun. Include a hill in your route, which will engage different muscle groups as you go up and down. You can also use intervals of different speeds to create interest and burn more calories in a shorter time period. Try walking fast for 60 seconds and then slow to a moderate pace for two to three minutes and repeat. Whether you use a treadmill or walk outside, you can make your workout more interesting.

No matter what exercise you choose, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after exercising.

Once you start moving, keep it up by making it a normal part of your routine.  Choose a partner to help keep you accountable or work out together.

So make a plan to get your body in motion and you’ll find renewed energy and strength.

To keep our bodies moving, we need to aim for 10,000 steps each day – one mile equals about 2,000-2,500 steps. Every little bit helps and adds to our daily total. Use a pedometer to keep track of your steps as you develop the habit of walking more. 

 Here are some ways to sneak in more steps:

• take the stairs.

• park out further in the lot.

• take a five-minute walking break when sitting for long periods.

• walk around when talking on the phone.

• take the dog for a walk.

• avoid the drive through at the bank, cleaners, pharmacy, etc. and go inside.

• walk to the mailbox each day.

• take advantage of local walking trails.

• find a friend to walk with daily.

A well-rounded fitness routine is important. Here are three different types of exercise to include into your routine:

• Cardio or endurance: Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise raises the heart rate and strengthens the heart and lungs.

• Resistance or strength: Resistance is used to contract muscles repeatedly and strengthen them.

• Flexibility: Stretching the muscles and increasing balancing ability increases your range of motion and decreases the risk of falls.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state and provides equal opportunities in all programming and employment. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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