Are you in need of a New Year’s resolution? Dawn Mattern, MD, with Trinity Health Sports Medicine, has just the idea: get moving!
“Moving more is a good resolution, and it can be attained,” she said. “We can do things that help us check that goal off our list.”
In mid-November, the federal government’s recommendations for physical activity were updated, due to the review of several years of new research. The Journal of the American Medical Association published the guidelines, which recommend that moving “anytime, anywhere, and by any means that you get active” can improve one’s health, as Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services said, in a release.
“I think it’s catching up to the evidence and knowledge that physical activity is something good for our health,” Dr. Mattern said.
Being physically active is one of the most important actions individuals of all ages can engage in to improve their health, the JAMA report said. It adds that “approximately 80 percent of U.S. adults and adolescents are insufficiently active.”
“A lot of people use time as an excuse,” Dr. Mattern said. “They say ‘I don’t have time to do it.'”
However, there is time, even if it’s for a few minutes.
“They want you to walk or take the stairs to your meeting,” she said. “Don’t sit down for the entire meeting. Get up, stand, walk around the conference room. It really just emphasizes moving instead of sitting like a lump of coal.”
The pending winter weather shouldn’t be an excuse either. “Even at home, there are lots of different ways to stay active,” Dr. Mattern said. “Cleaning and doing chores count. A lot of us can walk within the home. The new thing about the guidelines is we don’t have to have ten-minute blocks. You just have to get up and move.”
The new guidelines include the following:
- Every day: active play for preschoolers throughout the day.
- Every day: 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity for children.
- Three days a week: muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening (i.e. jump roping or running) activities for children.
- Every day: move more, sit less. Remember, something is better than nothing.
- Every week: at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity throughout the week.
- 2 + days a week: muscle-strengthening activities that use all major muscle groups.
- Follow the guidelines for adults.
- Each week: balance training, as well as aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
- Each week: If you can’t complete 150 minutes of aerobic activity due to chronic conditions, do as much as your abilities allow.
- If you have chronic conditions, learn how those affect your ability to do physical activity safely.
“I really like the fact they say just move,” Dr. Mattern said. “If you can’t make 30 minutes, just do something. Move and get some minutes.”
That activity can be achieved any way you know how. “Park farther from work. Walk maybe to a further coffee machine. Stand a little bit at work. Take the dog for a walk. Anything,” Dr. Mattern suggested. “It doesn’t have to be at a gym with a professional trainer. You don’t have to get so sweaty that you have to take a shower. You just have to move.”
As for Dr. Mattern, she does squats and stretches between patients just to keep moving.
” I think the body needs to do that. It works best when we are moving,” she said. “These guidelines are all attainable for everybody. Don’t be afraid to count ‘I walked my dog.’ ‘I shoveled the driveway.’ That’s what we’re trying to count. I just want you moving.