Tag Archives: Exercise

Keep Moving this Holiday Season

With the beautiful Summer and Fall weather behind us, we are now into the busy holiday season. Normal daily routines may get shifted, time may be limited, and you may fall out of your regular pattern. During this busy time of year, keeping fit is just as important as any other time of year. In fact, during the holidays, you may consume significantly greater amounts of calories, so balancing out these calories with activity is a great way to avoid any unwanted weight gain.

Tips to avoid the holiday fitness pitfalls:

  • Avoid using the “cold weather” as an excuse to not be active. Wear appropriate clothing and follow the information presented in the iGrow article Physical Activity & Cold Weather to stay safe. Be mindful of dangerous weather conditions or extreme cold temperatures and move your workout inside if needed.
  • If you will be traveling long hours during the holidays, pack resistance bands, small weights, or a jump rope to incorporate activity into your travel plans. If you have layover time in the airport, use this time to walk around the airport.
  • It is very likely that your daily routine is shaken up a little with busy holiday plans. If so, plan ahead for this change. This means you may have to do your normal 30 minute walk in the morning or evening, instead of over lunch, or maybe you will have to break up your 30 minute session into three 10 minute sessions throughout the day.
  • If you do not have a family tradition during this time of year, consider starting a family walk, family relay, or a sledding event for everyone to participate in!
  • If you can’t seem to work out alone, find a family member or friend to be your “fitness buddy” during the holiday season. Working out with a friend or in a group will mean someone is counting on you!
  • Squeeze in activity as much as possible, every bit counts. Walk a little faster while getting groceries for your holiday meals, squeeze in a morning walk before the busy day begins, or do squats or balance on one foot while cooking.

Many of us look forward to this time of year for different reasons, whether it is family, friends, good food, presents, or yearly traditions. It is important to use the holidays for some relaxation, but remember that physical activity can be a great way to do this, especially with your loved ones. Avoid using the holidays as an excuse to not be active, they offer the perfect opportunity to do just the opposite!

See more at iGrow

Fit & Strong!

Exercise is proven to help manage arthritis symptoms. It’s shown to increase strength and flexibility, reduce joint pain, and help combat fatigue. In fact, lack of exercise can actually make joints even more painful and stiff.

Fit and Strong program logoFit & Strong! is an 8 or 12-week physical activity program designed for adults—especially older adults—with arthritis. Due to COVID-19, Fit & Strong programs are currently meeting virtually using Zoom and an online portal.  

 

Class activities include:

  • group discussion
  • goal setting
  • lower extremity strength exercises
  • aerobics
  • stretching
  • introduction to balance
  • upper body exercises

Register for In-Person Fit & Strong! Workshops, or tune in virtually with Fit & Strong! @ Home.

Benefits to You

Fit & Strong! can help you:

  • Learn about osteoarthritis and how physical activity can be tailored to your needs to help manage symptoms
  • Learn safe stretching, balance, aerobic, and strengthening exercises 
  • Increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise over time
  • Incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle
  • Develop a physical activity routine you can continue after the program ends

Questions

For more information on the Fit & Strong! program, contact:

Nikki Prosch, SDSU Extension Health & Physical Activity Field Specialist
605-882-5140 or 605-688-6409
nikki.prosch@sdstate.edu

Hope Kleine, SDSU Extension Health Education & Food Safety Field Specialist
605-782-3290
hope.kleine@sdstate.edu

SDSU Extension logo

Walk With Ease

Walk With Ease is a six-week walking program that teaches safe ways to incorporate physical activity into daily life. This program is doctor recommended, and developed and certified by the Arthritis Foundation.

There are two ways to participate:

  • Try the self-guided approach
  • Join a group-led class

Please Note: At this time, all group-led classes are canceled until further notice due to measures taken by the SD Department of Health in response to COVID-19.

South Dakotans are encouraged to enroll in the self-guided program, which allows people to participate while practicing safe social distancing.

Register online for the self-guided Walk With Ease program, or call 888-484-3800.

Who can participate in Walk With Ease

All ages and ability levels can participate! If you are able to be on your feet for at least 10 minutes without increased pain—even if you use a cane or a walker—this program is a great way to increase physical activity.

Health and wellness benefits

Walk With Ease can help you:

  • Walk safely and comfortably
  • Improve your flexibility, strength, and stamina
  • Reduce pain associated with arthritis

Walk With Ease program logo

Self-guided program

Are you looking to start walking, but not able to commit to an in-person walking group at this time? Join an online six-week session from anywhere in South Dakota. Sessions are held 4-5 times each year.

When you register for the self-guided Walk With Ease program, SDSU Extension will send you:

  • Free Walk With Ease book
  • Tips and techniques to manage your walking and arthritis
  • Emails to check progress

Participants are encouraged to send weekly walking logs to follow their progress throughout the self-guided program.

Group-led class

Group-led sessions are led by CPR certified leaders who are trained in the Walk With Ease program. Each 1-hour session includes:

  • Brief education discussion
  • Warm-up and cool-down exercises
  • 10-35 minute walk at your pace
  • Optional activities and exercises using the class materials

Questions

For more information on the Walk With Ease self-guided program or to find a group-led class near you, contact:

Nikki Prosch, SDSU Extension Health & Physical Activity Field Specialist
605-882-5140 or 605-688-6409
nikki.prosch@sdstate.edu

Hope Kleine, SDSU Extension Health Education & Food Safety Field Specialist
605-782-3290
hope.kleine@sdstate.edu

SDSU Extension logo

 

Move Your Way: Physical Activity for Families

Walk. Run. Dance. Play.

We all know physical activity helps us stay healthy. But finding time to move more and sit less isn’t always easy. Fortunately, we have some tips, tricks, tools, and suggestions to help your family set goals and stay motivated.

Sitting for long periods of time (being sedentary) is bad for our health. So, we need to find ways to move – even just a little more throughout the day – because it can have big health benefits that start almost immediately. 

Anything that gets your heart beating faster counts and can make daily life better. For example, a quick 10-minute walk or trip up and down the stairs can:

  • Boost your mood
  • Sharpen your focus
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve your quality of sleep
  • Improve insulin sensitivity

Sounds good, right? Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

Adults need:

Aerobic Activity

150 minutes or 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity per week. If you prefer vigorous aerobic activity (like running) aim for at least 75 minutes per week.

icons of adults biking, swimming, walking a dog, playing wheelchair basketball, and gardening

Muscle-strengthening Activity

At least 2 days per week, do activities that make your muscles work harder than usual.

icons of adults lifting weights and doing pushups

Kids (6-17) need:

Aerobic Activity

  • 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Anything that gets their heart beating faster counts.
  • At least 3 days per week, encourage them to step it up to vigorous-intensity, so they’re breathing fast and their heart is pounding.
icons of kids riding bike, skateboarding, playing wheelchair basketball, walking a dog, hiking, dancing, and swimming

Muscle and Bone-strengthening Activity

At least 3 days per week, as part of their daily 60 minutes of physical activity. Anything that makes their muscles work harder counts toward muscle-strengthening – like climbing, swimming, push-ups or pull-ups.

Bones need pressure to get stronger so weight-bearing activities like running or jumping count as bone-strengthening activities.

But did you know that it can help them feel better right away? For kids ages 6-17, just 60 minutes of activity every day helps kids:

  • Sleep better
  • Get better grades
  • Relax
  • Improve their mood
  • Increase their self-confidence

And, it doesn’t have to be all at once. A few minutes here and there throughout the day can really add up. Here are a few suggestions to get them moving:

  • Walk to school or the bus stop
  • Dance around the living room
  • Play tag with friends
  • Swing on the monkey bars
  • Ride bikes to the park
  • Walk the dog
  • Join a sport or dance team

Talk to your kids about what they want to do to be more active, help them set their own goals, and encourage a routine.

Don’t forget the little ones…

Even the youngest children – ages 3 through 5 – will benefit from regular physical activity. Preschool-aged children should be active throughout the day. Starting this habit early helps with growth and development and establishes a routine they can continue as they grow older. Parents and adults caring for children this age should encourage active play (light, moderate, or vigorous intensity) and aim for at least 3 hours per day.

Make a plan to stay on track

Now that you know what you need to do to stay physically active – let’s set some goals!

The key is to choose activities you enjoy. Mix it up and start out slow – especially if you’ve been inactive for a while. Remember, any amount of physical activity has health benefits.

The Move Your Way Activity Planner can help you choose the activities you want to do, set weekly goals and will give you personalized tips to help you stay motivated. Once you have your plan set up, be sure to share it with friends and family to help keep you on track!

Find more physical activity resources specifically for:

  • Older adults
  • Pregnant women & new moms
  • People with disabilities
  • People with health conditions

Physical Activity Benefits for Adults & Those With Chronic Conditions

There are so many health benefits to regular physical activity! The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans details specific scientifically proven benefits and offers a set of guidelines to follow for better overall health, but the point is – ANY movement is good. 

Even a small amount of regular exercise has preventative and therapeutic benefits and can improve health and mood significantly. As you prepare to take that first step and move your way, here are some things to keep in mind:

Physical activity can help you:

  • Prevent and manage chronic disease
  • Lower the risk of dementia
  • Improve quality of life
  • Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Provide opportunities for social engagement and interaction with others

Physical Health

Being physically active delays death from all causes. It’s true, but if you need scientific facts, here’s one from the Department of Health and Human Services – and these guys have decades of research to back them up:

  • People who are physically active for approximately 150 minutes a week have a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who are not physically active.

And, if that’s not enough to get you thinking about adding a few minutes to your regular physical activity routine, consider this:

Cancer

Research shows that adults who participate in regular physical activity can reduce their risk of developing cancers of the:

  • Bladder
  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Endometrium
  • Esophagus
  • Kidney
  • Lung
  • Stomach

Cancer Survivors

Those who are physically active have a better quality of life, improved fitness and physical function, and less fatigue.

Cardiorespiratory Health

Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. People who engage in regular physical activity have:

  • Reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease
  • Lower rate of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better blood lipid profiles
  • Reduced risk of developing hypertension
  • Lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure

Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Health

Regular physical activity strongly reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people of all body sizes, plus it:

  • Helps control blood glucose in people who already have type 2 diabetes
  • Contributes to lower plasma triglycerides and insulin levels
  • Improved high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and blood pressure

Bone and Muscoskeletal Health

Preserving bone, joint, and muscle health is essential the older we get. Regular activity can:

  • Slow the decline in bone density that happens as we age
  • Help people with osteoarthritis or other rheumatic conditions affecting the joints

Functional Ability and Fall Prevention

Physically active middle-aged and older adults – you know who you are – can:

  • Prevent or delay the loss of function (i.e. those everyday activities that can get harder as we grow older, like stair climbing, personal care or keeping up with grandkids!)
  • Lower the risk of hip fracture
  • Reduce the risk of falling and injuries from falls

Brain Health

Think about it. Your body and brain are connected. When you feel good physically, your brain can relax and… do better brain things.

Cognition

Physical activity can improve cognitive function in older adults including things like:

  • Improved memory
  • Ability to plan, organize, initiate tasks and control emotions better. 
  • Lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s

There is also evidence that those with conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke can benefit from physical activity.

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety disorders and depression are common mental disorders and are leading causes of disability for middle-aged adults in the United States. Regular physical activity can:

  • Reduce symptoms of anxiety
  • Reduce the risk of developing depression 
  • Improve many of the symptoms experienced by people with depression

Sleep

Plain and simple, adults that are physically active sleep better. Plus:

  • Less time needed to fall asleep
  • Improved percentage of time actually sleeping
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • More deep sleep
  • Improvements in sleep for those with insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea

Chronic Disease

Although types and amounts of recommended physical activity may differ, adults with chronic conditions or disabilities also benefit from physical activity. Regular physical activity can help promote improved quality of life for people with chronic conditions and reduce the risk of developing new conditions. For many chronic conditions, physical activity provides therapeutic benefits and is part of recommended treatment for the condition.

Those who are not able to meet the guidelines, should engage in regular physical activity according to their abilities and avoid inactivity.

Better Choices, Better Health® SD

This program offers chronic disease self-management education workshops that are designed to help adults living with ongoing physical and/or mental health conditions and caregivers understand how healthier choices can improve quality of life, boost self-confidence, and inspire positive lifestyle changes. 

Chronic disease workshops bring adults living with different physical and/or mental health conditions and caregivers together to learn new ways to problem solve, create action plans, and manage multiple chronic conditions. Find out more and register at Good & Healthy SD.


Everyone—no matter age, sex, body weight, or ability—can work toward achieving these benefits by building safe, healthy exercise habits. Any physical activity is better than none, so set your own pace in working toward meeting these guidelines.

Every week, adults should aim for:

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity; and
  • 2 or more days of muscle-strengthening activity.

The Move Your Way Activity Planner can help you stay on track:

  • Set weekly goals
  • Choose the activities you want to do
  • Get personalized tips to help you stay motivated

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans report provides evidence-based recommendations for adults and youth ages 3 through 17 to safely get the physical activity they need to stay healthy.

The second edition, updated in 2018, offers new key guidelines for children ages 3 to 5 and new evidence that further demonstrates the health benefits of physical activity for individuals of all ages.

Guidelines for youth (3-5)

Preschool-aged children should be active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. Adults caring for children this age should encourage active play (light, moderate, or vigorous intensity) and aim for at least 3 hours per day.

Guidelines for Children and Adolescents

Children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily:

  • Aerobic: Most of the 60 minutes or more per day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity on at least 3 days a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, muscle-strengthening should be included at least 3 days a week.
  • Bone-strengthening: As part of their 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity, bone-strengthening physical activity should be included at least 3 days a week.

Guidelines for Adults

Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.

Move more, sit less

New evidence shows a strong relationship between increased sedentary behavior and increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and all-cause mortality. All physical activity, especially moderate-to-vigorous activity, can help offset these risks.

Any physical activity counts

Americans can benefit from small amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity throughout the day. The first edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans stated that only 10-minute bouts of physical activity counted toward meeting the guidelines. The second edition removes this requirement to encourage Americans to move more frequently throughout the day as they work toward meeting the guidelines.

Immediate health benefits

For example, physical activity can reduce anxiety and blood pressure and improve quality of sleep and insulin sensitivity.

Long-term health benefits

  • For youth, physical activity can help improve cognition, bone health, fitness, and heart health. It can also reduce the risk of depression.
  • For adults, physical activity helps prevent 8 types of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, stomach, and lung); reduces the risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), all-cause mortality, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression; and improves bone health, physical function, and quality of life.
  • For older adults, physical activity also lowers the risk of falls and injuries from falls.
  • For pregnant women, physical activity reduces the risk of postpartum depression.
  • For all groups, physical activity reduces the risk of excessive weight gain and helps people maintain a healthy weight.

Managing chronic health conditions

For example, physical activity can decrease pain for those with osteoarthritis, reduce disease progression for hypertension and type 2 diabetes, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve cognition for those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s disease.


Explore the Second Edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Find more physical activity resources specifically for:

  • Older adults
  • Pregnant women & new moms
  • People with disabilities
  • People with health conditions

It’s HOT Out There: Exercise Safe!

July and August can be some of the hottest months in South Dakota. Along with a drastic change in temperature, many individuals participate in a variety of different sports and spend prolonged periods of time in the sun during this seasonal change. The human body serves as a great temperature regulator, but without practicing proper safety precautions, it is possible for the body to overheat.

Exercising in the heat increases your sweat rate, fluid loss, and your risk for dehydration. Sweating is how your thermoregulatory system within your body cools you down. If you become too hot, it is hard for your sweating rate to keep up and keep body temperatures down. Thus, with the increased temperatures outdoors, there is an increased risk for heat illnesses. Additionally, children are less efficient at regulating their body temperatures and can become overheated and dehydrated much quicker than an adult. If you as an adult feel hot, your child probably feels a lot warmer.

Common Heat Illnesses

Common heat illnesses include heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Below are some common signs and symptoms for heat illnesses:

  • Heat Cramps: Muscle twitching, cramps, spasms
  • Heat Syncope: Pale skin, slowed heart rate, slowed breathing rate, nausea, weakness
  • Heat Exhaustion: Excessive thirst, dry tongue/mouth, fatigue, weakness, nausea, slightly elevated temp, mental dullness, excessive sweating
  • Heat Stroke: Central nervous system abnormalities (i.e. fatigue, confusion, headache, possible loss of consciousness, etc.), decreased or lack of sweating, rapidly increased heart rate and blood pressure

Safety Considerations

When engaging in physical activity during hot summer days or if you are going to be in the sun for prolonged hours follow these safety precautions:

  • Wear loose-fitting, breathable, light-colored clothing
  • Monitor hydration/fluid intake:
    • Drink plenty of water – even if you don’t feel thirsty!
    • Take frequent water breaks, especially during intense physical activity
    • Avoid caffeinated drinks, such as pop or soda
    • Drinks containing carbohydrates and electrolytes can also be consumed
  • Find shelter in shaded areas
  • Watch for signs and symptoms of heat illnesses (above)
  • Avoid physical activity during peak heat, instead try early morning or late evening times
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Rest often and take it easy

Be mindful and pay attention to your body, if you suspect a heat illness seek medical help immediately. Dizziness, cramps, nausea, vomiting, confusion and headaches are all causes for alarm. If you need to, move your workout indoors for a few days.

Additional Resources

See more at iGrow

Why Walk 20 Minutes?

There are mountains of research, tons of studies, and endless reports stating Americans need to be more physically active. Of course, the truth is – most of us already know we should be more active – it can’t hurt right? But, it seems like everywhere you turn there’s different advice on how much exercise is the right amount. Which is why finding the right amount of physical activity, combining it with the right intensity level, and balancing that with the rest of a busy life can feel a tad overwhelming.

why_20_minz

We do our best to keep up with the latest research and recommendations and here are some of the reasons adding about 20 minutes of physical activity to your daily routine makes sense to us and why we think it’s a good goal to start you on the path to better health:

1. South Dakotans Need More Physical Activity
According to South Dakota’s 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, only 18.4% of adults achieved the recommended level of both aerobic and muscle strengthening physical activity, and 25.8% of adults are getting NO physical activity outside of work. What’s even more concerning is that 72% of South Dakota youth (9-12 grade) does do not get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity. Bottom line, we all need to get more exercise.

We checked in with South Dakotans on the subject and here’s what we found:

Walking works.
When we think about adding exercise to our list, walking is the number one activity of choice, and the one we are most likely to engage in most often.

Walking is more fun with someone.
Friends, family, pets, or co-workers make walking (aka: exercising) easier, something we can look forward to, and something that we will do more regularly.

Walking covers a lot of bases.
No special equipment or membership required. You can walk fast, slow, up, down, in or out. No matter what your personal level of fitness, walking is something that almost everyone can add to their daily routine.

2. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Goal: 150 Minutes Per Week
The federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion works with a variety of federal and state agencies and keeps track of all kinds of data. Based on this data, they have recommended Americans increase the amount of physical activity we get. Specifically, for adults, they recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous intensity.

That might sound a little intimidating, but when you break it down… it’s really only about 20 minutes per day.

150_minutes_breakdown

3. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities
Recently, the Surgeon General also weighed in on the need for more physical activity, pointing to the numerous health benefits of walking with a Call to Action to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities. And, because walking is one of the easiest and most common forms of exercise, it only makes sense to make walking a national priority.

4. Take The First Step – About 20 Minutes At A Time
There are plenty of sources, reports and recommendations pointing to walking as an easy way to increase levels of physical activity. And most experts will agree that adding between 20 and 30 minutes of exercise to your daily routine is a good place to start. The best part about walking for about 20 minutes a day is that it’s an attainable goal. It’s long enough to provide a number of benefits to your overall health, and short enough to fit into your regular routine.

So what are you waiting for? Take the first step, grab a friend, and take a walk! All you need is about 20 minutes! Walk, walk, walk!

Sources & Other Helpful References:
2013 South Dakota Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Get Movin’! Infographic
South Dakota Physical Activity Study
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
HealthyPeople.gov
Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Promote Walking and Walkable Communities
America Walks
EverybodyWalk!

Physical Activity & Cold Weather

As fall season approaches and cold weather settles in, your exercise and physical activity may begin to decrease. Unfortunately, cold weather can discourage even the most dedicated physical activity enthusiasts. Cold weather doesn’t have to stop your outdoor activity in its tracks.

Stay healthy and fit during cold weather months by establishing a plan to exercise safely during cold weather. Talk with your doctor if you have any medical conditions prior to starting a new workout routine. Staying active through fall/winter can help maintain strength, control weight gain and improve general-wellbeing.

Plan to be safe and stay fit with these tips for exercising during cold weather:

  • Don’t dress too warmly. A lot of heat is generated when you exercise that may cause you to sweat and you may become chilled once your sweat dries. Wear light layers and remove them as needed. The first layer should be a thin material that draws sweat away from the body. Avoid wearing cotton which tends to cause sweat to pool on your skin.
  • Protect your ears, hands and feet from frostbite. Wear a hat or headband to protect your ears from the cold. Consider wearing a thin pair of gloves under a heavier pair of gloves or mittens. Remove the heavier pair if your hands begin to sweat.
  • Drink plenty of water even if you aren’t thirsty. Cold air has a drying effect which can increase the risk of dehydration.
  • Choose appropriate gear. Wear footwear with enough traction to avoid falls. If it’s dark outside wear reflective clothing. Consider wearing shoes a half-size larger so you can wear thicker socks. Remember to wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn and protect your eyes from snow glare with dark glasses or goggles.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia. Exercising in cold, rainy weather increases the risk of hypothermia; so does being an older adult. Symptoms of hypothermia include intense shivering, loss of coordination and fatigue.
  • Know your area’s weather forecast. Use common sense when faced with extreme weather conditions. If the temperature is below zero or the wind chill is minus 20 move your workout indoors.

If you currently aren’t physically active, you may want to view the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for ideas to add physical activity to your life. The CDC recommends that adults get 150 minutes per week of physical activity a week and children get at least 60 minutes daily.

 

Written by Ann Schwader, Nutrition Field Specialist at SDSU Extension.

Making Time For Exercise

You CAN make time for exercise!

front of physical activity palm card

5 Tips to Get Your Physical Activity in Each Week:
  1. Can you find 10 minutes in the morning? During your lunch break? In the afternoon? Just 10 minutes can make a big difference.
  2. Select activities that don’t require a lot of time and equipment. Walk, jog, ride your bike, climb the stairs or even ride a scooter. Be creative!
  3. Make physical activity a priority.
  4. Make physical activity a family event. Go for family walks 1-2 times a week.
  5. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routines. Have fun!

And remember…a little goes a long way!

  • Adults need 150 minutes (just 2.5 hours) of physical activity each week.
  • Kids needs 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

For more information, visit healthysd.gov.

back of physical activity palm card

 

Download images here.

Get Movin’!

When you decide you want more physical activity, pick an activity you enjoy that fits into your life. Aim to do at least 10 minutes of exercise at a time.

front of Get Movin' palm card

A little goes a long way! Adults need 150 minutes (just 2.5 hours) of moderate activity each week, or 75 minutes (just over 1 hour) of vigorous activity each week. Kids need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day.

Moderate Physical Activity:
I can talk while I do these activities, but not sing. Like gardening, walking briskly, water aerobics, softball and baseball.

Vigorous Physical Activity:
I can only speak a few words without stopping to catch my breath. Like race walking, running, cycling, soccer, jumping rope and aerobic dancing.

For more information, visit healthysd.gov.

back of Get Movin' palm card

Download images here.

5 Tips to Get Your Physical Activity in Each Week

You CAN make time for exercise!

front of physical activity palm card

5 Tips to Get Your Physical Activity in Each Week:
  1. Can you find 10 minutes in the morning? During your lunch break? In the afternoon? Just 10 minutes can make a big difference.
  2. Select activities that don’t require a lot of time and equipment. Walk, jog, ride your bike, climb the stairs or even ride a scooter. Be creative!
  3. Make physical activity a priority. Carve our time each week and mark it on your calendar like any other appointment!
  4. Make physical activity a family event. Go for family walks 1-2 times a week.
  5. Build physical activity into your daily routines. Have fun!
    • Do heel raises or balance on one leg while you brush your teeth, read a book or even when you cook.
    • Do resistance training exercises, stretches, jumping jacks or jump rope while watching television or during commercial breaks.
    • Work out during breaks at work; stretch or take short walks.

For more information, visit healthysd.gov.

back of physical activity palm card

 

Download images here.

Park Rx: A Prescription for a Day in the Park!

The South Dakota Department of Health, Department of Game, Fish and Parks, and SDSU Extension are teaming up with doctors and healthcare providers to encourage physical activity through the Park Rx project.

The project encourages healthcare providers to prescribe exercise – and when they do – patients can take their Park Rx to any South Dakota State Park and turn it in for a FREE pass for the day. Patients can also turn in the pass that same day and receive a discounted annual pass to encourage year long activity.

The trend to prescribe physical activity is sweeping the nation and we want healthcare providers in South Dakota to sign up and get their patients moving.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Fill out the form below.
  2. If you’re a patient, Park Rx information will be sent to the provider you list, encouraging them to sign up.
  3. If you’re a healthcare provider, an information packet with Park Rx pads will be mailed to you.

Park Rx Requests:

Are you a healthcare provider?

Questions? Contact Nikki Prosch (nikki.prosch@sdstate.edu)
*required fields

Spread the word!

  • Talk to your friends and family and tell them how to get their own Park Rx.
  • Download this flyer. Show it to your doctor or healthcare provider and ask if they are participating in the Park Rx project.
  • Plan an event in your local community promoting physical activity in parks – involve your school, healthcare facilities, community members, and local businesses. Consider planning your event around National Park Rx Day.
  • You have so many options to enjoy the outdoors in South Dakota! Discover all the ways you can fill your Park RX Prescription.

Exercise is medicine for everyone!

Regular physical activity can:

  • improve muscular fitness
  • aid in prevention of falls
  • assist with weight management
  • improve cognitive function in older adults
  • prevent and help manage certain chronic diseases

Kids benefit too!
Many children and adolescents don’t get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Besides building strong bones and muscles, regular physical activity also decreases the likelihood of developing obesity and risk factors for diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Plus, exercise may give a boost in positive mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. If you’re ready to promote youth physical activity, download the Youth Physical Activity Recommendations fact sheet to get started.

Any regular physical activity is beneficial, but doing it while in a park is even better! Outdoor activity improves mental and physical well-being more than indoor activity and spending time in nature is associated with better cognitive development in schoolchildren.

Download the Park Rx infographic and share and display it everywhere for a little extra motivation.

Here’s the buzz about Park Rx:
Park Rx is sweeping the nation! As seen on National Geographic and Scientific American!


The South Dakota Park Rx project aligns with the vision of the Exercise is Medicine® initiative. The goal is to make physical activity and exercise a standard part of global disease prevention and treatment. Our goal is to increase assessment and prescription of physical activity. Park Rx is a great way to encourage physical activity for your patients.

For a complete listing of South Dakota State Parks and to find the ones closest to you visit South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks.

For more information about exercise assessment and prescription, please visit ExerciseIsMedicine.org

ParkRx.org provides information about the national park prescription movement as well as the incredible physical, mental, and social benefits of exercise in nature.

To find out more about the recommended levels of physical activity, talk with your doctor and visit Health.gov

Use the FITT Chart to Get Fit!

Have you ever had a hard time picking a fitness plan or exercise program? There are a million plans out there! Which one is best? Which one fits into your lifestyle? Which one guarantees results? Create a plan that “fits” you.

Based on your own goals and circumstances fill in a FITT Principle chart. This can be your starting point. You can follow your own plan from there or find one that fits within your established guidelines!

If you are new to exercise, remember, work your way up. You don’t need to run a marathon or spend hours in a gym to feel the benefits of exercise. Once you get started, make a plan to increase at least one FITT component regularly to help you stay on track and make improvements. Let’s get started with FITT!

F – Frequency
How many days per week can you make time to exercise?

I – Intensity
How intense will you exercise? Intensity can vary between light, moderate and vigorous intensity activities. For example, walking slowly is a low intensity activity, walking briskly or shooting around a basketball is a moderate intensity activity and running (>5mph) is a vigorous intensity activity. A good rule of thumb is that a person doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity can talk, but not sing. A person doing vigorous-intensity activity cannot say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

T – Time
How many minutes will you dedicate to an activity or exercise?

T – Type
What sort of activity will you complete? Aerobic activities like walking, jogging, biking, swimming or dancing or strengthening activities such as exercises using exercise bands, weight machines or hand-held weights.

fitt chart

150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity is recommended each week. For some, a serious behavior change is needed and for others, a modification to current behaviors is more appropriate. When adopting or modifying a physical activity routine, it is important to set realistic goals. Too often, individuals expect to lose unrealistic amounts of weight, run faster and longer and start seeing drastic body composition changes instantly. Instead, use the acronym S.M.A.R.T.

Specific is the what, where and how of the goal.
Measurable is how you will evaluate whether or not you met the goal.
Achievable is setting a goal that you can accomplish.
Realistic is setting a goal that is challenging, but attainable.
Timely relates to when you want to achieve your goal by, and what time frame you have to reach your goal.

Putting the FITT principle together, one can effectively plan an exercise routine and set a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

 

Source: Avera Health Tip & iGrow

Exercising with osteoporosis: Stay active the safe way

If you have osteoporosis, you might mistakenly think exercise will lead to fracture. In fact though, using your muscles helps protect your bones. Osteoporosis is a major cause of disability in older women. A bone-weakening disorder, osteoporosis often results in fractures in the hip and spine—which can severely impair your mobility and independence.

How can you reduce your risk of these life-altering injuries? Exercise can help! Certain types of exercise strengthen muscles and bones, while other types are designed to improve your balance—which can help prevent falls.

Benefits of exercise

It’s never too late to start exercising. For postmenopausal women, regular physical activity can:

  • Increase your muscle strength
  • Improve your balance
  • Decrease your risk of bone fracture
  • Maintain or improve your posture
  • Relieve or decrease pain

Exercising if you have osteoporosis means finding the safest, most enjoyable activities for you given your overall health and amount of bone loss. There’s no one-size-fits-all prescription.

Before you start

Consult your doctor before starting any exercise program for osteoporosis. You might need some tests first, including:

  • Bone density measurement
  • Fitness assessment

In the meantime, think about what kind of activities you enjoy most. If you choose an exercise you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with it over time.

Choosing the right form of exercise

These types of activities are often recommended for people with osteoporosis:

  • Strength training exercises, especially those for the upper back
  • Weight-bearing aerobic activities
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Stability and balance exercises

Because of the varying degrees of osteoporosis and the risk of fracture, you might be discouraged from doing certain exercises. Ask your doctor or physical therapist whether you’re at risk of osteoporosis-related problems, and find out what exercises are appropriate for you.

Strength training
Strength training includes the use of free weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight to strengthen all major muscle groups, especially spinal muscles important for posture. Resistance training can also help maintain bone density. If you use weight machines, take care not to twist your spine while performing exercises or adjusting the machines.

Resistance training should be tailored to your ability and tolerance, especially if you have pain. A physical therapist or personal trainer with experience working with people with osteoporosis can help you develop strength-training routines. Proper form and technique are crucial to prevent injury and get the most from your workout.

Weight-bearing aerobic activities
Weight-bearing aerobic activities involve doing aerobic exercise on your feet, with your bones supporting your weight. Examples include walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical training machines, stair climbing, and gardening. These types of exercise work directly on the bones in your legs, hips, and lower spine to slow mineral loss. They also provide cardiovascular benefits, which boost heart and circulatory system health.

It’s important that aerobic activities, as beneficial as they are for your overall health, are not the whole of your exercise program. It’s also important to work on strength, flexibility, and balance. Swimming and cycling have many benefits, but they don’t provide the weight-bearing load your bones need to slow mineral loss. However, if you enjoy these activities, do them. Just be sure to also add weight-bearing activity as you’re able.

Flexibility exercises
Moving your joints through their full range of motion helps you keep your muscles working well. Stretches are best performed after your muscles are warmed up—at the end of your exercise session, for example, or after a 10-minute warm-up. They should be done gently and slowly, without bouncing. Avoid stretches that flex your spine or cause you to bend at the waist. Ask your doctor which stretching exercises are best for you.

Stability and balance exercises
Fall prevention is especially important for people with osteoporosis. Stability and balance exercises help your muscles work together in a way that keeps you more stable and less likely to fall. Simple exercises such as standing on one leg or movement-based exercises such as tai chi can improve your stability and balance.

Movements to avoid

If you have osteoporosis, don’t do the following types of exercises:

  • High-impact exercises. Activities such as jumping, running, or jogging can lead to fractures in weakened bones. Avoid jerky, rapid movements in general. Choose exercises with slow, controlled movements. If you’re generally fit and strong despite having osteoporosis, however, you might be able to engage in somewhat higher-impact exercise than can someone who is frail.
  • Bending and twisting. Exercises in which you bend forward at the waist and twist your waist, such as touching your toes or doing sit-ups, can increase your risk of compression fractures in your spine if you have osteoporosis. Other activities that may require you to bend or twist forcefully at the waist are golf, tennis, bowling, and some yoga poses.

If you’re not sure how healthy your bones are, talk to your doctor. Don’t let fear of fractures keep you from having fun and being active.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Helping Kids Get Active

Today, there’s a world of entertainment for kids that has nothing to do with playing outside. Establishing healthy activity and eating patterns needs to start at a young age. But here’s a scary fact: About 75% of kids around the country aren’t getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily, including kids who are overweight.

For these kids, it can be more difficult to be active due to embarrassment, peer bullying, and physical challenges associated with getting into an activity routine. Overweight and obese youth also tend to be less active due to poor motor skills.

So how can we get kids who are overweight to be more active?

First, it’s important for parents to be involved and encouraging. Research shows that parents today see normal weight children as being underweight, while overweight children are viewed as normal, and children with obesity are seen as being just “a little too heavy.” With these misconceptions parents are much less likely to prioritize healthy behaviors like physical activity.

Second, the activity should be something the child will enjoy. Very few kids are going to be excited about a gym; I suggest parents and caregivers focus on increasing playtime.

Muscle-strengthening activities can be unstructured and part of play, such as playing on playground equipment, climbing trees, and playing tug-of-war or structured, such as lifting weights or working with resistance bands. Aerobic training are those in which young people rhythmically move their large muscles. Running, hopping, skipping, jumping rope, swimming, dancing, and bicycling are all examples of aerobic activities. Aerobic activities increase cardiorespiratory fitness. Although aerobic activity is important, if you start with fun activities involving strength exercises you can build up the child’s confidence and strength over time to eventually include more aerobics.

Try games where kids toss balls with varying high-to-low throws. Squatting to catch a low throw is much more fun than standing at the gym doing squats. Medicine balls are great because kids can use them at home and while playing with others.

Parents/caregivers should also encourage kids to be creative and come up with their own exercises – this makes the activity more fun.

The bottom line: it’s too challenging and discouraging for an overweight child to jump right into high intensity physical activity. We need to start by simply getting kids out of being sedentary through fun activities, then work up from there.

 

Posted on July 15, 2015 by Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD @ American Institute for Cancer Research

Exercise When You Have A Cold

It’s that time of year again, sore throats and the sniffles seem to be abundant and hard to avoid. With a change in your normal health status, you may question how being sick influences your physical activity routine. Prevention is key and a great way to decrease the risk of getting sick is engaging in regular exercise. Studies have shown exercise helps our immune system fight small infections, like a cold. However, if your immune system is unable to fight the infections, questions about being active remain. What if you are already sick? Is it safe to exercise?

Generally, it is safe to exercise when you have a cold. When symptoms are above the neck (runny nose, sore throat), it is generally safe to continue your exercise routine. If symptoms are more systemic (muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fever) it might be wise to take a break from exercising while you are sick. If a fever is present with your cold, consult with your doctor before engaging in activity.

Important Health Considerations

If you choose to exercise with a cold, it’s important to pay attention to your body and proceed with caution. It is best to reduce the intensity and length of your workout to avoid further decline in your health. Some medications, such as decongestants, can increase heart rate. Likewise, your heart rate increases with exercise. The combination of exercise and decongestants can cause your heart to pump very hard, and you may become short of breath and have problems breathing.

If you exercise with a cold and have any of the following symptoms, it’s important to stop and call your doctor:

  • Increased chest congestion
  • Coughing and/or wheezing

Stop and seek emergency medical help if you have:

  • Chest tightness or pressure
  • Trouble breathing or excessive shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance

If you have a cold and feel miserable, take a day or two off from normal exercise to get needed rest. A great preventative action against Influenza, or “the flu”, is getting your flu shot. Getting a flu shot will prevent the flu in about 70-90% of people under the age of 65! For more information about fighting the flu, read Fighting the Flu.

Sources:  American College of Sports Medicine & WebMD Exercise and the Common Cold

Exercise-How Much is Enough

As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others.

Not doing any physical activity can be bad for you, no matter your age or health condition. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do.

If you’re 65 years of age or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions you can follow the guidelines listed here.

You Can Decrease Your Cancer Risk. How? Move More!

A new study has shown that more leisure-time physical activity is associated with a lower risk of developing 13 different types of cancer! Leisure-time physical activity is exercise done at one’s own discretion, often to improve or maintain fitness or health. Examples include walking, running, swimming, and other moderate to vigorous intensity activities. In this study, the average level of activity was about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, which is the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation.

Hundreds of previous studies have examined associations between physical activity and cancer risk and shown reduced risks for colon, breast and endometrial cancers. However results were not as clear for other cancer types due to small number of participants. This new study pooled data on 1.44 million people, ages 19 to 98, from the United States and Europe, and was able to examine a broad range of cancers. Participants were followed for an average of 11 years during which 187,000 new cases of cancer occurred.

The investigators confirmed that leisure-time physical activity, determined by self-reported surveys, was associated with a lower risk of colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. They also determined that leisure-time physical activity was associated with a lower risk of 10 additional cancers, with the greatest risk reductions for esophageal, liver, stomach, kidney and myeloid leukemia. Myeloma and cancers of the head and neck, rectum, and bladder also showed reduced risks that were significant, but not as strong. Risk was reduced for lung cancer, but only for current and former smokers; the reasons for this are still being studied.

Here is the information in a nutshell:

  • Esophageal cancer, a 42% lower risk
  • Liver cancer, a 27% lower risk
  • Lung cancer, a 26% lower risk
  • Kidney cancer, a 23% lower risk
  • Stomach cancer of the cardia (top portion of the stomach), a 22% lower risk
  • Endometrial cancer, a 21% lower risk
  • Myeloid leukemia, a 20% lower risk
  • Myeloma, a 17% lower risk
  • Colon cancer, a 16% lower risk
  • Head and neck cancer, a 15% lower risk
  • Rectal cancer, a 13% lower risk
  • Bladder cancer, a 13% lower risk
  • Breast cancer, a 10% lower risk

Overall, high levels of physical activity were linked with a 7% lower risk of any cancer, according to the study. The association between increased physical activity and decreased cancer risk is applicable to different populations, including people who are overweight or obese, or those with a history of smoking. Health care professionals counseling inactive adults should promote physical activity as a component of a healthy lifestyle and cancer prevention.

Sources: National Institutes of Health

Walk Walk Walk

South Dakota – it’s time to walk! Walking is one of the easiest ways to increase physical activity levels. The Surgeon General wants walking to become a national priority and we are following in those footsteps by encouraging everyone to walk: walk more, walk often, walk with friends, walk about 20 minutes, walk at work, walk with your kids or grandkids, walk a cat or a dog… just walk! Why walk 20 minutes?

Walking is the single most recommended form of exercise and we know that when you walk with someone you are more likely to form a new habit. And, because there are so many ways to walk – fast or slow, up a hill, down a sidewalk, on a path, at the mall, in the hall, or off on a trail – and so many levels of intensity, it’s easy to tailor a walking habit that fits your personal physical activity goals.

 

 

walking_habit_final20_minutes_final4-31

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week, and children get at least 60 minutes per day.

Now–that might seem like a big number, but when you break it down–it’s just slightly more than 20 minutes per day. You can do 20 minutes–right?

Let’s get moving South Dakota! Grab a friend, a co-worker, a kid, a cat… and let’s move the needle: only one half of adults nationwide meet the Physical Activity Guidelines–we can do better.

 

health_benefits_final

 

 

 

More places to walk!

South Dakota is full of best kept secrets and tons of fun place to explore.
Check out these links for a few ideas on how & where to be more active:

Game Fish & Parks
SD Parks & Recreation Association
Live Well Sioux Falls
Live Well Black Hills
SD Discovery Center
Hike It Baby
All Trails
Every Trail

 

Active in the Workplace Series

On average, today’s adults work approximately 8 hours per day. For many, time at work is primarily sedentary—time spent sitting during waking hours in the form of computer use, reading, meetings, and driving or riding in a car. Fitting activity into your work schedule can be challenging, but there are small things you can do throughout the day to increase physical activity.

The Active in the Workplace 5-part video series provides some tips and ideas to replace sedentary time with light physical activity.

Part 1: Cardio

 

Part 2: Stretching

 

Part 3: Core

 

Part 4: Upper Body

 

Part 5: Lower Body

Check back each month for a new video!

Source: iGrow.org

Walking Toolkit: Improve your health, well-being & quality of life

Did you know that walking is the #1 physical activity of choice for South Dakotans? We walk for fun. We walk for exercise. We walk for transportation, and we walk to connect – with each other and with our environment. This toolkit is for anyone who wants to walk more and inspire others in their community to Get Movin’!

Learn what walkability is, why it matters and how to create more access to walkable areas. Learn the basics of starting a walking program and find lots of resources to help make walking easy and fun for everyone.

We’re challenging all community leaders, health champions, wellness directors, worksite wellness coordinators, healthcare providers and walking enthusiasts to download, read up and… Walk! Walk! Walk!

Exercise when you have a cold

It’s that time of year again—sore throats and the sniffles seem to be abundant and hard to avoid. With a change in your normal health status, you may question how being sick influences your physical activity routine.

Prevention is key and a great way to decrease the risk of getting sick is engaging in regular exercise. Studies have shown exercise helps our immune system fight small infections, like a cold. However, if your immune system is unable to fight the infections, questions about being active remain.

What if you are already sick? Is it safe to exercise?

Exercise can boost your immune system, so it is generally safe to exercise when you have a cold. If you choose to exercise with a cold, it’s important to pay attention to your body. It is best to reduce the intensity and length of your workout to avoid further decline in your health. Some medications, such as decongestants, can increase heart rate. Likewise, your heart rate is increased with exercise. The combination of exercise and decongestants can cause your heart to pump very hard, and you may become short of breath and have problems breathing. If a fever is present with your cold, consult with your doctor before engaging in activity.

If you exercise with a cold and have any of the following symptoms, it’s important to stop and call your doctor:

  • Increased chest congestion
  • Coughing and/or wheezing

Stop and seek emergency medical help if you have:

  • Chest tightness or pressure
  • Trouble breathing or excessive shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance

If you have a cold and feel miserable, take a day or two off from normal exercise to get needed rest. A great preventative action against influenza, or “the flu,” is getting your flu shot. Getting a flu shot will prevent the flu in about 70-90% of people under the age of 65!

See more at iGrow

South Dakota Physical Activity Study 2014

At 53.7%, South Dakotans recently surpassed the National median (50.6%) when it comes to meeting recommended physical activity guidelines for aerobic exercise. However, we still rank lower than many of our surrounding states. Studies have shown that 71% of “inactive” South Dakotans are either overweight or obese, putting them at significant health risk. In November 2014, Healthy South Dakota commissioned a statewide telephone survey, the purpose of which was to provide information about “inactive” South Dakotans and in so doing, discover why it is that they are inactive, what types of physical activity they would be most likely to do repeatedly, and what it would take to persuade/motivate them to do so.

The Surgeon General recently released a Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities, and the South Dakota State Plan for Nutrition and Physical Activity 2015-2020 goals include the adoption of healthy community design principals and access to places and spaces to be physically active. The Physical Activity Phone Survey Highlights offers some insights into what our top priorities should be.

Fitness Trends: Barre Workouts

Ballerinas have been doing Barre workouts for years, and now in the 21st century these awesome workouts are becoming mainstream. Ballet Barre workouts have been become very popular in the last 10 years and have found their way to South Dakota.

What is a Barre Workout?

Barre workouts are a combination of yoga and Pilates poses, which utilize a ballet barre to execute the movements. Barre uses isometric exercises that target the whole body. Barre participants hold exercise poses for a set amount of time and then pulse for a series of repetitions. Pulses are small and controlled movements that are no higher than 5 inches. Barre is a class geared to increase muscle strength, that also increases your heart rate during class. Most Barre classes will consist of a resistance portion where you “feel the burn” followed by a brief stretching break.

Who can do Barre?

Anyone!! Men, women, boys, and girls of all ages, shapes, and sizes. You don’t have to be a ballerina to practice Barre poses. Barre is a low impact activity. It can easily be tailored to meet your body’s specific needs. Most Barre classes will allow participants to go at their own pace.

What to expect?

Barre is a full body workout. It will involve exercises geared to tone your arms, legs, and abs. Many classes will give participants the option of using small hand weights, resistance bands, and stability balls. Tip: if it is your first class, opt for lighter hand weights or no hand weights at all. It will give you a sense of your ability level and how your body will react to the exercises.

Throughout class, your teacher will likely give you prompts to help you avoid injury and get the most out of your workout. You will likely have sore muscles after your first couple workouts, which just means you worked them hard. Most of all, you can expect to sweat and have lots of fun!!

What do I wear?

A typical Barre class is done barefoot or in socks. You have the option of purchasing special sticky socks, however this is not necessary. Wear clothes you feel comfortable being active in such as yoga pants or capris, and a light breathable top. You will need a bottle of water to stay hydrated throughout the class and a sweat towel may come in handy as well. Most of all, arrive with a smile on your face and a good attitude because you are about to get the best workout of your life.

Next time you are in the mood to switch up your workout routine, try a Barre class! Do a search of fitness studios in your area and inquire if they offer Barre. You won’t regret it!

See more at iGrow

#Commit2Ten

We challenge you to commit to 10 more minutes of physical activity each day. A little more physical activity makes a big difference!

Visit the #Commit2Ten website and receive a personalized fitness profile, a 30-day activity calendar, resources, and support to commit to 10 additional minutes of physical activity per day.

Take the next step:

Let’s get South Dakotans on the map and moving more by joining the challenge!

 

Source:  commit2ten.org

Fall into Fitness

Many consider Fall one of the most beautiful times of year. Changes in the natural outdoor colors, the arrival of cool weather, and the sight of farmers in the field all make this season a gorgeous time of year. Fall offers the opportunity for engagement in a number of outdoor activities, in a cool and scenic atmosphere. For those who are looking to start becoming more active, this beautiful fall weather can serve as a strong motivational factor and assist with the development of a lifelong active lifestyle.

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both each week. For instance, an adult can meet this guideline by walking 30 minutes (15 minutes in the morning & 15 minutes in the evening) 5 times a week. In addition to getting some aerobic exercise, adults should strive to incorporate 2 or more days of muscle strengthening activity each week. Examples of muscle strengthening activities include weight lifting, push-ups, sit-ups, yoga, or resistance band exercises. Activity only needs to be performed in bouts of 10 minutes or more, increasing ease for very busy individuals to meet the recommendations!

If you feel you are too busy to incorporate activity into your normal routine, try spreading your activity out during the week or making it intrinsic to your normal daily routine. The recommended 150 minutes can be accumulated throughout all 7 days of the week. Identify available time slots by monitoring your normal daily routine for one week and insert 10-15 minute bouts of activity where time is available. For example, try a 10 minute walk in the morning, one over lunch, and a 10 minute bike ride in the evening to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Choose activities that require minimal time, such as jogging, walking, or going up and down stairs. If that doesn’t work and you can’t get outside, try cleaning your house at a moderate to vigorous intensity 25 minutes each day (i.e. sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, mopping).

Physical activity does not have to be another thing on your “to-do list”, you can sneak activity into things you are already doing. Walk or bike to work or nearby facilities, play with your kids outside, do some squats and heel raises while checking cattle or cooking, exercise while you watch television, walk the dog or lift small hand weights while you read. Incorporating physical activity into your day can be easy; it might just take a little creativity. South Dakota offers trails and parks across the state, which is a pleasing sight to the eye during fall.

“Being physically active is one of the most important steps that Americans of all ages can take to improve their health.” – The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

See more at iGrow

Staying Active in a Rural Community

In South Dakota, we are surrounded by small towns with low populations. Memberships to fitness facilities, gyms, recreation centers, or community physical activity opportunities may be slim, if available at all. With constant messaging about the benefits and importance of being physically active, one may wonder how they can keep active with limited access to facilities. The beauty of this perceived dilemma is that physical activity can be performed anywhere with little to no equipment.

Here are a few ideas to stay active year-round, whether or not you have physical activity facilities or amenities available in your community.

Active transportation is defined as: approaches that encourage individuals to actively travel from one destination to the next, such as walking or biking, decreasing the use for motorized transportation. In many small towns, actively transporting to the grocery store, school, post office, or a neighbor’s house can be done with ease.

Workout at Home
Although not all individuals enjoy working up a sweat in their living room, this is an option that is available to anyone who has an open space in their home. If you don’t have an exercise video or routine to follow, perform some exercises like squats, push-ups, stretching and flexibility training, or abdominal exercises. Videos, YouTube, Social Media Exercise videos, online workout routines and social media platforms are a great way to access a variety of free workout routines to do anywhere. Yoga, kickboxing, strength training, balance practice, stretching, and cardio workouts can all be accessed by doing a simple online search. If you are new to exercise, be sure to start slow and look for beginner focused workouts.

Walk, Walk, Walk!
The most preferred form of physical activity is walking. Walking can be performed anywhere, indoors or outdoors, with no equipment other than a good pair of tennis shoes.

Community Groups
If you have a passion for walking, biking, yoga or another fitness trend, consider forming a community group or community class around that interest. Talk with local facilities (i.e. community center, school, churches) and see if they are willing to share use of an open space for your community group to meet once or twice a week. If you are a walking or biking group, you can meet outside and go for a walk or ride together as a group.

Advocate
If your community lacks access to physical activity opportunities, advocate for development, policies or access to such amenities.

See more at iGrow.org

Physical Activity Data Infographic

The latest physical activity data in SD shows how SD compares to surrounding states and the nation. The infographic (letter-size | tabloid size) reinforces the 150 minutes per week message through multi-sectorial collaboration. This resource is a call to action for SD community leaders and advocates working to increase physical activity – let’s keep SD moving!

Moderate Exercise May Cut Women’s Stroke Risk

Brisk walking, tennis and other types of moderate exercise may lower a woman’s stroke risk by one-fifth, a new study says.

Being more active also offset the increased stroke risk linked with using hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause, the study found. The researchers looked at the number of strokes that occurred among nearly 133,500 women in the California Teachers Study, which ran from 1996 to 2010. Women who said they did moderate physical activity in the three years before enrolling in the study were 20 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who were inactive. The findings were to be presented in February, 2014 at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference in San Diego.

“I was surprised that moderate physical activity was most strongly associated with a reduced risk of stroke,” study author Sophia Wang, a professor in the department of population sciences in the Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., said in a stroke association news release. “More strenuous activity, such as running, didn’t further reduce women’s stroke risk. Moderate activity, such as brisk walking, appeared to be ideal in this scenario,” she added.

The researchers also found that postmenopausal women taking hormone therapy were 30 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who never used hormone therapy, but moderate exercise helped reduce this increased risk. And after women stopped taking hormone therapy, their risk began to fall. The findings show that women need to include physical activity into their daily routine, Wang said.

“You don’t have to do an extreme boot camp. The types of activities we’re talking about are accessible to most of the population,” and include power walking and recreational tennis, she noted. While 87 percent of the women in the study were white, the results likely apply to women in other racial/ethnic groups, Wang added.

Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. And the study only found an association between exercise and reduced stroke risk. It did not prove cause-and-effect.

Source: Health Day News; Moderate Exercise May Cut Women’s Stroke Risk

How to Make Your Desk Job Healthier

Nearly 1 in 4 people blame aches and pains on their work environment because they remain in the same position for long periods of time. Is there something we can be doing about this? After all, we spend most of our day working and usually sitting and don’t actually have a choice to up and leave when the pain gets too much.

“We’re just not designed to sit for hours on end,” says personal trainer Louise Parker. “Being sedentary for long periods weakens the body and won’t encourage a healthy metabolism, digestion, or posture.  As you sit for long periods over months and years, your posture can really suffer and overall muscle tone weakens.  The lack of movement throughout the day can also result in a sluggish digestion and a general lack of energy,” she adds.

Is sitting down killing you?
“Essentially, the human body is a dynamic system that needs to move, and by spending too many hours at a time sitting down our bodies can develop musculoskeletal imbalances, as well as other health conditions, like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, although more often we see problems such as headaches, insomnia, lethargy, and back pain,” says former World and Olympic Champion athlete Sally Gunnell OBE. She helps businesses design, implement, and review workplace wellbeing schemes with her Healthy Living program.

Research from the American Cancer Society suggests that men who regularly sit for more than 6 hours a day had a 17% increased risk of death. Now consider that the average man spends 9.3 hours a day sitting down, far outweighing the 7.7 hours he spends asleep, he could be in a lot of trouble.

If you have a desk job then you’re more likely to suffer a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack, die from a heart or circulation problem, or develop diabetes. But what are the options? With longer working hours, longer commutes, and more people using their TVs, smart phones, and tablets as a means to relax, we are sitting down more than ever.

What can we do?
With inactivity now listed as the fourth biggest killer of adults by the World Health Organization, it’s time to change our habits and stop thinking it’s acceptable to come into the office and park yourself at your desk for the day. Although a power walk at lunch will clear your head, and a gym session after work is a step in the right direction, it’s the small micro-movements that you make throughout the day that can really make a difference – like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, “and taking every opportunity to get up and talk to someone rather than send an email,” says Louise, who always meets her clients at her clinic door, rather than take the elevator or have them sent up.

It’s the little things that add up, so, here are some ideas to start building some better habits.

Get up
“For any breaks that you have, head outdoors to eat your lunch or grab a coffee,” says Louise. “If you’re stuck on a trading floor or in a consulting room, make sure that every 30 minutes you stand up and do some stretches. Try not to sit still for longer than 30 minutes at any one time, without taking a break to walk about and mobilize.”

Change your chair
Speak to your office manager about changing your chair for something more supportive that promotes good posture and doesn’t add large amounts of pressure to the back muscles and discs. Simply not being able to slump all day can correct your posture, while ensuring you sit in the correct sitting position.

Measure, monitor, and walk
Research suggests we should be walking 10,000 steps a day – and unless you walk a long way to work you’ll need to get some of these done in the office. Use a pedometer to keep note of how many steps you take throughout your working day and continuously increase this amount.

Walking around the office may seem like a small amount of exercise but you will soon notice a significant increase in the number of steps you’re taking. Take all the opportunities you can to get on your feet: walk a longer route to your desk, or use the toilets on a different floor so you have to use the stairs. Another idea is to place your printer or trash bin walking distance from your desk, so you have to get up and walk to these every time you want to use them.

Staying physically active throughout the day – even getting up to make a coffee – keeps you mentally alert and will help your overall health.

Walk and talk
Rather than having an hour-long meeting, try a different approach. A 15-minute standing meeting will ensure that you get straight to the point, and data shows that standing meetings are not only shorter but also more effective.

If you need to have a private conversation, why not try a walking meeting instead? A walking meeting eases the tension and helps get conversation flowing, plus a change of scenery can often inspire some brighter thinking.

Stretch it out
“Try having a little stretch 3 to 5 times per day,” says Sally. “Duck into an empty meeting room if you want some privacy and focus on opening up the chest and the hips. Whatever your fitness level, small changes can go a long way to improving your health and with that comes increased confidence, productivity, and happiness.”

Create a healthy desk
Never eat lunch at your desk if you can help it. “Doing so can make you less productive while making you feel hungrier later on in the day,” says Robert Pozen, the author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours. Try not to keep unhealthy snacks at your desk either, as they’ll be the first thing you reach for at times of stress and “instead make sure that you have some nutritious snacks in your drawer, like unsalted nuts and fruit,” says Greg Mikolap, creator of ptfolder.com.  Don’t forget to drink as much water as possible throughout the day. This will help with hydration and will periodically encourage you to get up and walk to the bathroom.

Stand up and work
Take a page out of Arshad Chowdhury’s book, a health app designer from New York who was recently in the news for getting up from his chair and standing up and working instead. Chowdhury insists that since doing this, his productivity has increased and his posture has improved; his neck and shoulders no longer hunch forward, his legs have become more muscular and his back pain has entirely disappeared too.

Big companies such as Google and Facebook have done it in an effort to promote circulation and encourage movement throughout the day. But what about the rest of us? “Try to find a place where you can work standing up for periods throughout the day,” says Sally. “A lot of office workers have mobile phones and laptops nowadays so why not take a few calls standing up, or type up a report using the top of a filing cabinet as a standing desk?”

Pay attention to your posture
For busy desk dwellers hunched over computers all day, posture is something that is often neglected but is crucial to overall fitness. “Good posture allows you to breathe more deeply and easily, improves circulation and digestion – your organs have the space to function – and makes us look more confident and composed,” says Nahid de Belgeonne, Good Vibes founder and fitness expert. “Here’s a simple exercise that you can do at your desk to improve your posture,” she says.

  • Sit up straight with both feet touching the floor
  • Taking a breath in, draw pubic bone ever so slightly in towards the ribs to lengthen the lumbar spine.
  • Now close your eyes, and draw your sitting bones together – the bones under the flesh of the bottom that you sit on.
  • Lifting up through the sitting bones, feel your spine draw up to the pubic bone, towards the naval and continue to draw up towards your breastbone expanding upwards and outwards widening your collar bones.
  • Now put your right hand behind your head and send the weight of your head in to your hand. This re-aligns your head to sit on top of your spine. We tend to lead with the chin and want to avoid hanging the head forwards.

To keep good posture throughout your sitting day, you can also invest in an exercise ball. Research, conducted by one producer of fitness and wellness equipment, found that there was a 33% increase in variation of abs movement when gently bouncing on an exercise ball at your desk and an increased energy expenditure. They also found that sitting on an exercise ball encourages bouncing, which keeps the legs moving and in turn stimulates circulation and keeps muscles busy, reducing stress and fatigue.

If an exercise ball simply isn’t an option for your office environment, then make sure your desk space is set up well so when you sit, your feet are on the floor and your computer is at eye level, then “regularly release your back by sitting upright in your chair, and then rotating to the left and right, 10 times,” says Greg. This may “result in more relaxed neck and lower back feeling,” he says. “You should also try and stand up every hour, stretch your arms overhead and take a few deep breaths, which will tilt the pelvis back to neutral and loosen up your lower back and hip flexors.”

You can also try taking a towel into work and rolling it up to use as a personalised back support when you feel yourself starting to slouch. “It can be placed horizontally to support the lumbar (lower back) curve of the spine, vertically along the spine to keep the shoulders back, or as a wedge to sit on to encourage forward tilting hips, which in turn allows a natural lumbar curve in the lower spine,” says Sally.

Source: WebMD; How to make your desk job healthier By Lucy Miller

Yoga: Anywhere for Anyone

Yoga practice involves breath work (pranayama) to connect the mind and body, as well as to connect our thoughts and feelings with movement. Yoga is a great indoor activity with many different styles that work for all ages and levels of physical activity.

Benefits of practicing yoga

Yoga provides a number of physical, mental, and emotional benefits such as:

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved digestion
  • Stress reduction and relaxation
  • Better posture, strength, flexibility, and balance

Yoga also has been shown to benefit individuals with chronic diseases and disabilities through:

  • Improved body awareness and orientation
  • Development of focus and concentration
  • Encouragement of learning and creativity
  • Increased awareness of our connectedness to others

Choose the type of yoga that’s best for you

Please note: Many in-person yoga classes are canceled until further notice due to measures taken by the state of South Dakota in response to COVID-19. 

One can adhere to safe social distancing by practicing yoga from the comfort of home. Search online to choose from a wide variety of virtual yoga classes and routines. You’ll find different types of yoga, teachers, and styles.

Make sure to select an appropriate class and instructor for your skill level. Types or styles of yoga vary in pace and emphasis. There will be slower-paced practices that include breathing and meditation, to faster types combined with rhythmic breathing.

For example, need to stretch and relax? Try this gentle yoga routine from SDSU Extension.

Want to learn more? Explore more information on the different types of yoga as well as safety, equipment, clothing, and etiquette.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine; Selecting and Effectively Using a Yoga Program

Target Heart Rate

When talking or learning about exercise, you often hear the word “intensity”. Intensity refers to how hard a person works to do a select activity. The two most often examined intensities in exercise are moderate and vigorous intensity. For many individuals, determining if you are working at a moderate or vigorous intensity may be tricky. The body’s physiological response to exercise is a steady increase in activity with an increased intensity of activity. Thus, a great way to estimate your relative exercise intensity is through your heart rate and prediction of your target heart rate zone (THRZ).

Percentage of maximal heart rate (MHR) is based on simple exercise physiology, which predicts an individual’s MHR from the age based equation: 220 – age. For example, the MHR for a 30 year old individual would be equal to 220-30 = 190. Target Heart Rate, also known as percentage of Maximal Heart Rate Reserve, is an aerobic method, also based on the MHR prediction, used to estimate an individual’s THRZ. THRZ is the intensity range that will produce training effects on the heart if maintained for a sufficient length of time (i.e. 20-30 minutes). Typical THRZ for a moderate activity is 40%-59% of MHR, and for a vigorous activity, 60%-84%1. For healthy individuals, the American Heart Association recommends individuals set their THRZ between 50%-85% of their MHR2. Individuals who are new to exercise, previously sedentary, rehabilitating or have medical problems should aim for a lower THRZ and consult with their physician or an exercise professional before starting exercise.

Selecting your THRZ:

  • 80%-90% of MHR – improve performance, high intensity exercise (no medical problems)
  • 70%-85% of MHR – established aerobic exercisers, currently active most days of the week
  • 60%-75% of MHR – intermediate level exercisers
  • 50%- 60% MHR – previously sedentary, medical problems, new to exercise

If you are looking to exercise within your THRZ, below is a sample calculation for an established 30 year old exerciser aiming for a THR Zone of 70% – 85%:

  • MHR = 220 – 30 years old = 190
  • Upper Limit (85%) = MHR x .85 = 190 x .85 = 162 beats/min
  • Lower Limit (70%)= MHR x .70 = 190 x .70 = 133 beats/min
  • Target HR Zone: Lower Limit beats/min to Upper Limit beats/min (133 beats/min to 162 beats/min)

If you are new to exercise, during the first few weeks aim for the lower part of your THRZ. Gradually aim for a higher training percentage of your THRZ. A great way to monitor your heart rate during exercise is with a heart rate monitor. There are many forms and styles available for purchase. The American College of Sports Medicine offers a great resource for Selecting and Effectively Using a Heart Rate Monitor.

Source: iGrow; Target Heart Rate by Nikki Porsch

15 Pilates Moves that Get Results

What sets Pilates apart is its focus on toning the muscles with springs, bands, or your own body weight. View the WebMD article to see how Alycea Ungaro, author of 15 Minute Everyday Pilates, shares her routine for beginners. Some moves are shown using Pilates studio equipment, but you can do most moves at home. Check with a doctor first if you’re a man over 45 or a woman over 55, or if you have a medical condition.

Core-strength exercises with a fitness ball

Core-strength exercises strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. You can do many core-strength exercises with a fitness ball. In general, use a fitness ball sized so that your knees are at a right angle when you sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Do each core-strength exercise five times. As you get stronger, gradually increase to 10 to 15 repetitions. Breathe freely and deeply and focus on tightening your abs during each core-strength exercise. If you have back problems, osteoporosis or any other health concern, talk to your doctor before doing these core-strength exercises.

View Mayo Clinic’s slideshow for a series of exercises to try with your fitness ball.

Source: Mayo Clinic; Slideshow: Core-strength exercises with a fitness ball

Balance exercises

When you’re ready to try balance exercises, start with weight shifts:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight equally distributed on both legs.
  • Shift your weight to your right side, then lift your left foot off the floor.
  • Hold the position as long as you can maintain good form, up to 30 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. As your balance improves, increase the number of repetitions.

View Mayo Clinic’s slideshow for more exercises you can use to improve your balance.

Source: Mayo Clinic; Slideshow: Balance exercises

What’s the Difference Between Exercise and Physical Activity?

Exercise is a form of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive such as weight training, tai chi, or an aerobics class. Physical activities are activities that get your body moving such as gardening, walking the dog, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Including both in your life will provide you with health benefits that can help you feel better and enjoy life more as you age.

Yoga in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond

Thirty-five years ago, cardiologist Dean Ornish, M.D., made headlines with his claim that yoga and meditation, when combined with improvements in diet and exercise habits, could reverse heart disease.
Since then, research into the health benefits of yoga, especially its effect on adults 50-plus, has exploded.

Read this brief guide of the benefits of yoga (and some poses you can do) in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.

Source: AARP; Yoga in Your 50s, 60s and 70s – and Beyond

Heart Disease and Exercise for a Healthy Heart

A sedentary (inactive) lifestyle is one of the top risk factors for heart disease. Fortunately, it’s a risk factor that you can do something about. Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, has many benefits. It can:

  • Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system
  • Improve your circulation and help your body use oxygen better
  • Improve your heart failure symptoms
  • Increase energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath
  • Increase endurance
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve muscle tone and strength
  • Improve balance and joint flexibility
  • Strengthen bones
  • Help reduce body fat and help you reach a healthy weight
  • Help reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and depression
  • Boost self-image and self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
  • Make you feel more relaxed and rested
  • Make you look fit and feel healthy
How Do I Start Exercising?

Always check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program. Your doctor can help you find a program that matches your level of fitness and physical condition. Here are some questions to ask:

  • How much exercise can I do each day?
  • How often can I exercise each week?
  • What type of exercise should I do?
  • What type of activities should I avoid?
  • Should I take my medication(s) at a certain time around my exercise schedule?
  • Do I have to take my pulse while exercising?
What Type of Exercise Is Best?

Exercise can be divided into three basic types:

  • Stretching or the slow lengthening of the muscles; stretching the arms and legs before and after exercising helps prepare the muscles for activity and helps prevent injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching also increases your range of motion and flexibility.
  • Cardiovascular or aerobic is steady physical activity using large muscle groups. This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body’s ability to use oxygen. Aerobic exercise has the most benefits for your heart. Over time, aerobic exercise can help decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and improve your breathing (since your heart won’t have to work as hard during exercise).
  • Strengthening exercises are repeated muscle contractions (tightening) until the muscle becomes tired. For people with heart failure, many strengthening exercises are not recommended.
What Are Examples of Aerobic Exercises?

Aerobic exercises include: walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoor), cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, and low-impact aerobics or water aerobics.

How Often Should I Exercise?

In general, to achieve maximum benefits, you should gradually work up to an aerobic session lasting 20 to 30 minutes, at least three to four times a week. Initially, exercising every other day will help you start a regular aerobic exercise schedule. The American Heart Association recommends working up to exercising on most days of the week. While the more exercise you can do the better, any amount of exercise is beneficial to your health.

What Should I Include in an Exercise Program?

Every exercise session should include a warm-up, conditioning phase, and a cool-down.

  • Warm-up. This helps your body adjust slowly from rest to exercise. A warm-up reduces the stress on your heart and muscles, slowly increases your breathing, circulation (heart rate), and body temperature. It also helps improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness. The best warm-up includes stretching, range of motion activities, and the beginning of the activity at a low intensity level.
  • Conditioning. This follows the warm-up. During the conditioning phase, the benefits of exercise are gained and calories are burned. Be sure to monitor the intensity of the activity (check your heart rate). Don’t overdo it.
  • Cool-down. This is the last phase of your exercise session. It allows your body to gradually recover from the conditioning phase. Your heart rate and blood pressure will return to near resting values. Cool-down does not mean to sit down! In fact, do not sit, stand still, or lie down right after exercise. This may cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded or have heart palpitations (fluttering in your chest). The best cool-down is to slowly decrease the intensity of your activity. You may also do some of the same stretching activities you did in the warm-up phase.
What Is the Rated Perceived Exertion Scale?

The Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale is used to measure the intensity of your exercise. The RPE scale runs from 0-10. The numbers below relate to phrases used to rate how easy or difficult you find an activity. For example, 0 (nothing at all) would be how you feel when sitting in a chair; 10 (very, very heavy) would be how you feel at the end of an exercise stress test or after a very difficult activity.

Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale

0 Nothing at all
0.5 Just noticeable
1 Very light
2 Light
3 Moderate
4 Somewhat heavy
5-6 Heavy
7-9 Very heavy
10 Very, very heavy

In most cases, you should exercise at a level that feels 3 (moderate) to 4 (somewhat heavy). When using this rating scale, remember to include feelings of shortness of breath, as well as how tired you feel in your legs and overall.

How Can I Avoid Overdoing Exercise?

Here are a few guidelines:

  • Gradually increase your activity level, especially if you have not been exercising regularly.
  • Wait at least one and a half hours after eating a meal before exercising.
  • When drinking liquids during exercise, remember to follow your fluid restriction guidelines.
  • Take time to include a five-minute warm-up, including stretching exercises, before any aerobic activity and include a five- to 10-minute cool-down after the activity. Stretching can be done while standing or sitting.
  • Exercise at a steady pace. Keep a pace that allows you to still talk during the activity.
  • Keep an exercise record.
How Can I Stick With Exercise?
  • Have fun! Choose an activity that you enjoy. You’ll be more likely to stick with an exercise program if you enjoy the activity. Add variety. Develop a group of several different activities to do on alternate days that you can enjoy. Use music to keep you entertained. Here are some questions you can think about before choosing a routine:
  • What physical activities do I enjoy?
  • Do I prefer group or individual activities?
  • What programs best fit my schedule?
  • Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?
  • What goals do I have in mind? (For example, losing weight, strengthening muscles, or improving flexibility.)

A few more tips for getting moving:

Schedule exercise into your daily routine. Plan to exercise at the same time every day (such as in the mornings when you have more energy). Add a variety of exercises so that you do not get bored. If you exercise regularly, it will soon become part of your lifestyle.

Find an exercise “buddy.” This will help you stay motivated.

Also, exercise does not have to put a strain on your wallet. Avoid buying expensive equipment or health club memberships unless you are certain you will use them regularly.

Exercise Precautions for People With Heart Disease
  • Call your doctor if changes have been made in your medications before continuing your regular exercise program. New medications can greatly affect your response to activity.
  • If you are too tired and are not sure if it is related to overexertion, ask yourself, “What did I do yesterday?” Try to change your activities by starting out at a lower level today (but do not exercise if you are feeling very overtired). Pace yourself and balance your activities with rest.
  • Avoid heavy lifting, pushing heavy objects, and chores such as raking, shoveling, mowing, and scrubbing. Chores around the house may sometimes be tiring, so ask for help.
  • Ask your doctor if you can participate in these activities: weightlifting, weight machines, jogging, or swimming.
  • Avoid push-ups, sit-ups, and isometric exercises. Isometric exercises involve straining muscles against other muscles or an immovable object.
  • Avoid even short periods of bed rest after exercise since it reduces exercise tolerance. If you become overly fatigued or short of breath with exercise, take a rest period in a comfortable chair.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors when it is too cold, hot, or humid. High humidity may cause you to become fatigued more quickly and extreme temperatures can interfere with your circulation, make breathing difficult and can cause chest pain. Instead, try indoor activities such as mall walking.
  • Avoid extremely hot and cold showers or sauna baths after exercise.
  • Do not go up steep hills during your activity, whenever possible. If you must walk on a hilly area, slow your walking pace when going uphill to avoid working too hard. Watch your heart rate closely and change the activity as needed.
  • Reduce your activity level if your exercise program has been interrupted for a few days (for example, due to illness, vacation, or bad weather). Then, gradually increase to your regular activity level as tolerated.
  • Do not exercise if you are not feeling well or have a fever. Wait a few days after all symptoms disappear before starting your exercise program, unless your doctor gives you other directions.
  • If you are short of breath during any activity or have increased fatigue, slow down your activity level or rest. Keep your feet raised or elevated when resting. If you continue to have shortness of breath, call your doctor. Your doctor may make changes in your medications, diet, or fluid restrictions.
  • If you develop a rapid or irregular heartbeat or have heart palpitations, rest. Check your pulse after you rest for 15 minutes — if your pulse is still above 120-150 beats per minute, call your doctor for further instructions.
  • Do not ignore pain. If you have chest pain or pain anywhere else in your body, do not continue the activity. If you perform an activity while you are in pain, you may cause stress or damage on your joints. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for specific guidelines. Learn to “read” your body and know when you need to stop an activity.
Exercise Warning

Stop exercising and rest if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness or light headedness
  • Unexplained swelling (call your doctor right away)
  • Pressure or pain in your chest, neck, arm, jaw, or shoulder or any other symptoms that cause concern

Call your doctor if these symptoms do not go away.

Source: WebMD; Heart Disease and Exercise for a Healthy Heart

Spring into Action

Benefits of Physical Activity
Spring. The days get longer and the temperatures rise. In addition to all of the wonderful fruits and vegetables spring provides, warmer weather gives us the chance to get out of the house and enjoy the benefits of physical activity.

With a balanced eating plan, exercise is important both for losing weight and maintaining your overall health. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults engage in a minimum of 2 ½ hours each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week.

With planning, you can easily fit 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity into your routine most days of the week.

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities:

  • Walking (3 mph)
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling (less than 10 mph)
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing

Examples of vigorous-intensity activities:

  • Race-walking, jogging, running
  • Swimming laps
  • Bicycling (faster than 10 mph)
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing

To increase your levels of aerobic activity, first decide which activities you enjoy and look at your daily schedule to see where you can fit in these activities. If you’re starting from little or no daily physical activity, begin with five to 10 minutes per day. Increase your duration every week by 10-minute increments until you’re up to 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. For maximum cardiovascular health, try to engage in all your aerobic activity at one time. But if your schedule doesn’t permit it, you can break up the physical activity throughout the day.

As you develop your physical activity plan, remember nutrition is fundamental to your peak physical performance. To put in your best effort, you need carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. If you’re highly active, you may need slightly more of some nutrients. Whatever your level of activity, maximize your performance by consuming a wide variety of foods and adequate calories.

Source: EatRight.org; Spring into Action

Is it OK to exercise if I have a cold?

Mild to moderate physical activity is usually OK if you have a garden-variety cold and no fever. Exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion.

As a general guide for exercise and illness, consider this:

  • Exercise is usually OK if your symptoms are all “above the neck.” These signs and symptoms include those you may have with a common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat.Consider reducing the intensity and length of your workout. Instead of going for a run, take a walk, for example.
  • Don’t exercise if your signs and symptoms are “below the neck,” such as chest congestion, hacking cough or upset stomach.
  • Don’t exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.

Let your body be your guide. If you have a cold and feel miserable, take a break. Scaling back or taking a few days off from exercise when you’re sick shouldn’t affect your performance. Resume your normal workout routine gradually as you begin to feel better. And check with your doctor if you aren’t sure if it’s OK to exercise.

Remember, if you do choose to exercise when you’re sick, then reduce the intensity and length of your workout. If you attempt to exercise at your normal intensity when you have more than a simple cold, you could risk more serious injury or illness.

Source: Mayo Clinic; Is it OK to exercise if I have a cold? Answers from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.

What is Exergaming?

Exergaming is defined as technology-driven physical activities, such as video game play, that requires participants to be physically active or exercise in order to play the game. These games require the user to apply full body motion to participate in virtual sports, in group fitness exercise or other interactive physical activities. The concept behind Exergaming takes the passion for gaming and turns what was once considered a sedentary behavior into a potentially more active and healthy activity.

What are the benefits of exergaming?

  • It is fun and enhances enjoyment of exercise..
  • It allows for social interaction as multiple players can participate at one time.
  • It allows participants to make individual choices when playing the self-paced game.
  • It uses the video game motivation to allow participants to play their favorite games while being active.

Learn more about exergaming (PDF)

Source: American College of Sports Medicine; Exergaming

5 Steps to Loving Exercise

We all know the benefits of regular physical activity – increased energy, better cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke and looking more svelte.

But about 80 percent of Americans don’t make exercise a regular habit, and, according to a 2012 American Heart Association website survey, 14 percent say they don’t like exercise.

So how do you overcome an exercise aversion? Mercedes Carnethon, Ph.D., associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, has some tips to help you incorporate exercise into your life – and maybe even learn to like it.

Exercise That Suits You
Find an exercise that best fits your personality, Dr. Carnethon said. If you are social person, do something that engages you socially – take a group exercise class, join a kickball team or walk with a group of friends. Or, if you prefer having time alone, walking or jogging solo might be a better fit for you. Finding a peer groupis the perfect way to connect with others who share your goals, lifestyles, schedules and hobbies.

Try some of these ideas to help you get moving – at home, at work or at play.

Make it a Habit
It can take a little while for something to become a habit, so give yourself the time to create a regular routine. One way is to try to exercise around the same time each day.
“Exercise can become addictive in a positive way,” said Dr. Carnethon, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “Once it becomes a habit, you’ll notice when you aren’t doing something.”

Build Exercise Into Your Lifestyle
Be honest with yourself. If you don’t live close to a gym, it may be harder to become a habit for you. Likewise, if you are not a morning person, don’t plan on somehow getting up at the crack of dawn to make a boot camp class.

“The key is building activity into your lifestyle so it is not disruptive,” Dr. Carnethon said.

There are many ways to fit exercise into your life, and it doesn’t mean you have to make a big financial investment.

You can borrow exercise videos from the library or DVR an exercise program. Do weight or resistance training with items around your home (for example, use canned goods as light weights).  Walking is great option, as well. The only investment is a good pair of shoes.

Do Bouts of Exercise
It’s OK to break up your physical activity into smaller segments, Dr. Carnethon said. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day of exercise most days, but if that sounds overwhelming, try three 10-minute workout sessions.

You could do a quick calisthenics routine when you wake up, take a brief walk after lunch at work and, if you commute with public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.

Keep Going
If you miss a day or a workout, don’t worry about it. Everybody struggles once in a while. Just make sure you get back at it the next day.

“It doesn’t take too long to get back on track,” Dr. Carnethon said. “It’s easy to make something a habit again. You will see same benefits before. Any little bit you can fit in will show benefits.”

Source: Heart.org; 5 Steps to Loving Exercise … Or At Least Not Hating It

Rowing Exercise

Rowing is an efficient and effective low-impact exercise that utilizes the arms, abdomen, back and legs to provide a total body workout. This activity offers the opportunity for a wide range of training, from fat burning and aerobic conditioning to high-intensity anaerobic. The rowing stroke is a smooth, continuous movement. If you have a history of low back pain, special attention must be given to developing proper rowing technique to prevent injury. If you are interested in rowing as a form of exercise:

  • Use a machine that is in good working order
  • Use the proper rowing technique
  • Avoid twisting or excessively stretching the cord
  • Always warm up before your workout and increase the length and intensity of training gradually over weeks and months
  • Never start rowing with maximal effort in a single stroke

Download and read the ASCM’s flyer for more about rowing and rowing machines.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine; Brochures

Strength Training for Older Adults

If you’re interested in feeling stronger, healthier, and more vital, this program is for you. This strength-training program was developed by experts at Tufts University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Growing Stronger is an exercise program based upon sound scientific research involving strengthening exercises—exercises that have been shown to increase the strength of your muscles, maintain the integrity of your bones, and improve your balance, coordination, and mobility. In addition, strength training can help reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic diseases, including arthritis.

If you’re not physically active now, Growing Stronger will help you make daily activity a regular part of your life by building the essential strength that makes all movement easier and more enjoyable.

Regular physical activity is not only fun and healthy, but scientific evidence strongly shows that it’s safe for almost everyone. And the health benefits far outweigh the risk of injury and sudden heart attacks, two concerns that prevent many people from adding more physical activity to their lives.

However, some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming more physically active. Experts advise that if you have a chronic disease, such as a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure, or symptoms that could be due to a chronic disease, it’s important that you’re under the care of a doctor and talk to him or her about the types and amounts of physical activity that are appropriate for you.

Visit the CDC’s website to learn more about the Growing Stronger program, including the following points:

  • Why strength training? The benefits, research and background.
  • Motivation — motivation tips, setting goals and celebrating success.
  • Preparation — safety, equipment needs, scheduling exercise and more.
  • Intensity — how to judge your effort.
  • Progression— when and when not to increase intensity, how and why it’s important.
  • Staying on Track — includes log sheets with motivational and instructional tips. These log sheets will help you accurately monitor your progress in strength training.
  • Exercises — From warmup to cooldown.

Source: CDC; Growing Stronger—Strength Training for Older Adults

 

Monitoring Exercise Intensity Using Heart Rate

Why monitor your heart rate?

You’re huffing and puffing through another aerobic workout, wondering if you’re really doing yourself any good. Are you working too hard or not hard enough?

You look around. The person next to you has barely broken a sweat while the one in front is drenched from head to toe. Well, sweat may not be the best indicator of exercise intensity. For that, we need to look to our hearts.

Heart rates, to be exact. When you exercise, your heart beats faster to meet the demand for more blood and oxygen by the muscles of the body. The more intense the activity, the faster your heart will beat. Therefore, monitoring your heart rate during exercise can be an excellent way to monitor exercise intensity.

For the majority of aerobic enthusiasts, there is a range of exercise intensities that is described as safe and effective for promoting cardiovascular benefits. To determine what range is best for you, you’ll need to be familiar with a few terms.

1. Maximal heart rate:
This number is related to your age. As we grow older, our hearts start to beat a little more slowly. To estimate your maximal heart rate, simply subtract your age from the number 220.

2. Target heart-rate zone:
This is the number of beats per minute (bpm) at which your heart should be beating during aerobic exercise. For most healthy individuals, this range is 50 to 80 percent of your maximal heart rate. So, if your maximal heart rate is 180 bpm, the low end of the range (50 percent) would be 90 bpm, and the high end of the range (80 percent) would be 144 bpm.

What does this recommended heart-rate range mean?

Now that you’ve determined your target heart-rate zone, you need to know how to put that information to good use. These numbers serve as a guideline – an indicator of how hard you should be exercising.

Those just beginning an aerobic program should probably aim for the low end of the zone and pick up the intensity as they become more comfortable with their workouts. Those who are more fit, or are training for competitive events, may want to aim for the higher end of the zone.

Keep in mind that the target heart-rate zone is recommended for individuals without any health problems. Additionally, individuals taking mediction that alter the heart rate should consult their physician for recommended exercise intensity.

Where to monitor?

There are a number of ”sites” used to monitor the pulse rate. Two convenient sites to use are the radial pulse at the base of the thumb of either hand, or the carotid pulse at the side of the neck.

Accurate pulse-count assessment is crucial when monitoring exercise intensity. By using the first two fingers of one hand and locating the artery, a pulse rate can be easily determined.

Immediately after exercise, isolate your pulse and count the number of beats in a 10-second period. To determine the heart rate in beats per minute, multiply the number of beats per 10 seconds by six. For instance, if a 10-second pulse count were 20, then the heart rate would be 120 bpm.

A final word about heart-rate monitoring

Remember, your estimated target heart-rate zone is just that – an estimate. If you feel like you are exercising too hard, you probably are. The best advice is to reduce your intensity and find a heart-rate range that works for you.

Source: Ace Fitness; Monitoring Exercise Intensity Using Heart Rate