On the door of the Fleet Feet running store in Bonney Lake hangs a sign that says, “Don’t worry about being slow, only worry about standing still.”
This quote is adapted from a Chinese Proverb and could be interpreted in a few different ways. On one level, it speaks to not getting stuck, that any movement is better than no movement and that we need to make things happen in our lives rather than let life happen to us. The more literal interpretation of this quote is about physically moving and it aligns with the purpose of this article, to encourage you to adopt the habit of regular physical activity.
The American Heart Association recommends adults receive 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity. Moderate physical activity could be compared to what it feels like to take a brisk walk. You can slice and dice the time as you choose to best fit your schedule. Thirty minutes a day, five times a week, is one way to meet the recommended goal.
For this month, we invite you to make two commitments for yourself:
1) Achieve 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week for the next four weeks. Consider taking a walk, hiking Mount Peak or riding a bike. Be creative in finding ways to meet this goal; pulling the kids in a wagon around the neighborhood, walking behind a lawn mower as you cut the lawn or even gardening all contribute toward achieving weekly physical activity.
2) Participate in a new activity each week for the next four weeks. Changing up the activities each week is a great way to have fun while exercising, meet new friends and work different muscles. Try walking, hiking or biking a different trail each week. You can find interesting paths, trails and routes at www.alltrails.com. Also, consider trying a new group exercise class at a local gym. The classes may include indoor cycling, yoga, strength and conditioning, Zumba, Barre, Pilates, step aerobics and water aerobics. The key is to find ways to keep exercise fresh and fun so that it is something you look forward to participating in several times a week.
There are many possible benefits of regular physical activity: improved heart health, increased metabolism, reduction of risk for developing cancer or diabetes and improved mood, sleep and brain function. If you are just starting out, we recommend you get cleared by your health care provider prior to beginning a new routine. Remember that it’s OK to start out slow. If 150 minutes a week seems unrealistic at first, then shoot for 60 or 90 minutes a week and build up to 150.
We hope you will try a new activity this spring and meet new friends while doing it. Remember, “Don’t worry about being slow, only worry about standing still.”
Best wishes for your continued success.
Stephanie Norton-Bredl is a nationally certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bruce deJong is a group exercise instructor at the Auburn Valley YMCA and may be contacted at email@example.com.