Welcome to Day 5
Today is all about activity. Research shows that consistent and natural activity is key to living longer. Regular physical activity protects from diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity and helps with maintaining a healthy and strong body.
Exercise can also improve your mood and keep your cognitive skills sharp as you age.
Physical Activity and the Mediterranean Lifestyle
The Mediterranean lifestyle traditionally was an active lifestyle. They walked everywhere, many were farmers, they tended their gardens, did the housework etc. Walking was also a leisure activity, every day they would take a walk around town, or a walk after dinner or a walk at the central square or “downtown” area of their town.
Intentional (planned) exercise should be part of your activities, but it shouldn’t be the only physical activity. Your daily routine should be keeping you active.
How Much Activity?
As mentioned above you should be somewhat active all day and avoid sitting for long periods of time. In terms of planned exercise, the CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity. Walking briskly is considered moderate intensity.
Here are some tools to help you with your activity levels:
This is from Mayo Clinic which provides several tests that assess your fitness level
This one is from the University of California San Francisco and although it is labeled Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Adults, I find it applies to anyone especially regarding those activities that aren’t necessarily considered exercise such as gardening.
And this last one is a questionnaire from the CDC that helps you pinpoint your barriers to being active
Challenge # 5
Try a new habit that can help you increase your natural activity
Today, we may not have the same lifestyle, but there are many things we can do to increase our “natural” activity.
- If you have a job that requires to sit for long periods of time, set an alarm every 1 hour to remind to get up and walk for a few minutes.
- Plan a bit of housework every day.
- If the weather permits take a short walk after dinner.
- Park far away from the store or walk to the store if possible.
- Walk in the house when you are on the phone
- If you take public transportation, get off 1 stop before your regular stop and walk.
- Avoid drive throughs
- Use activity trackers to help you set goals and make sure you are moving enough.
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