Reasons to get moving

Do you remember when the rules for physical activity were "no pain, no gain?"  Our ideas about physical activity have changed, but the health benefits remain.

Physical Activity Overview

Research shows a payback of approximately two minutes of extra life for every minute of aerobic exercise.  Besides adding years to your life, exercise also adds life to your years.

Here is a short list of tips to get you started!

1.  Choose your shoes wisely.

  • A comfortable pair of shoes with good arch support is the only special equipment that you need.  When buying walking shoes, shop late in the day when your feet may be swollen.  Be sure to measure both feet.
  • Wear appropriate socks and walk around the store in both shoes.  Try on several pairs of shoes and compare fit and comfort.  If the shoes still feel comfortable after at least 10 minutes, as well as fit your budget, purchase the shoes.

     2.   Dress for safety and for the season.

  • For visibility, wear light-colored clothes and always walk facing oncoming traffic.  In cooler weather, opt for several layers of clothes so that you can shed layers if you get too warm.
  • If icy, wear shoes with a good grip.  Wear a cap to help maintain body temperature.

     3.   Warm up and cool down.

  • Warm up your muscles before working out.  Limber up your muscles with some "static stretching," a continuous stretch just to the point where you feel a slight pull.  A bouncing type of stretching is not recommended.

     4.   Bring a water bottle and drink frequently.

  • When you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.  Drink a half-cup of water every 15 minutes while being physically active.

     5.  Pace yourself.  Find a comfortable speed.

  • Take the talk test:  if you can't talk while exercising, slow down.  If you feel pain, dizziness, nausea, or other symptoms STOP.  If the problem persists, check with your physician.

Pedometer Pointers

  • 1. Wear your pedometer clipped to your waistband or your belt. To get the most accurate reading, wear your pedometer directly over your hipbone.
  • 2. Wear your pedometer about a week without changing any of your habits. Each day, at the end of the day, write down how many steps are recorded. (Note: 2,000 steps equals one mile.)
  • 3. An ultimate goal is 10,000 steps per day. That equals approximately 5 miles. If at first you are not walking 5 miles a day, try to do a little more each day. To reach a 10,000 step goal, most people need to do some purposeful walking a couple of miles each day.
  • 4. To help increase your steps, fight the temptation to take the easy way out and use time-savers such as drive-through windows, drive-through banks, and elevators. Think of some ways to walk when the weather is bad. You might be able to walk at the nearest mall.
  • 5. Look for additional ways to be more active with your children or spouse. Go for a walk, go to the park or find some activity you enjoy doing as a family.

For more information, call Nancy A. Freeman, County Director Harrison County Extension Service at (228) 865-4227.