One in four U.S. adults are sitting for longer than eight hours each day, and this lack of activity is bad for mental and physical health. The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is urging adults to move more and sit less throughout the day.
“For too many of us, our daily routines have become more sedentary over the past year due to the pandemic, making it even more important to find ways to increase physical activity in our day,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, the American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention. “Any movement is better than no movement, and more is better. Even small breaks of activity throughout the day will benefit health and reduce stress.”
The American Heart Association’s Move More initiative, which encourages physical activity for better physical and mental health, kicking off in April, is a great time to commit to building in more activity. Here are some ideas to move more throughout the day:
- Schedule breaks. Avoid being sedentary for too long and set a reminder to move around for five minutes multiple times a day. Need inspiration? Follow along on the American Heart Association’s Instagram or Facebook accounts on April 7 to join in on live movement breaks in the morning, at lunch and in the afternoon.
- Be creative. Find more ways to get up and off the couch by taking a walk around the house or doing a few push-ups between episodes of a TV show. If you have a pet, take breaks to play or take a walk outside. Active chores like vacuuming and tidying up clutter count, too.
- Put the screens on hold. Dedicate time each day for the whole family to unplug and take an active break. Take a walk, play a game of hide-and-seek inside or put on your favorite music for a dance party.
- Move more while working at home. Start reducing meetings by five minutes when possible and use that time to incorporate active moments like doing some basic strength exercises like squats or crunches, moving to a different area to do a few stretches to break up your day, or make it a habit to stand every time you make or answer an e-mail.
- Find forms of exercise you like. To find a routine that you’ll stick with, experiment with at home workouts that fit your personality and schedule.
For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking or gardening, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity such as running or aerobic dancing, or a combination of both intensity level activities. In addition, the Association recommends two days of moderate-to high-intensity muscle strengthening activity weekly, such as resistance training.
For a look at the upcoming workout schedule and other physical activity ideas, visit www.heart.org/movemoretogether.