With the new year fresh upon us and National Wear Red Day® fast-approaching (Friday, February 1, 2019), there is no better time to take stock of our health. The American Heart Association agrees! Its annual Go Red for Women campaign puts the spotlight on a vulnerability often overlooked; one women dies of cardiovascular disease (stroke, heart disease) every 80 seconds. In an effort to raise awareness, this ongoing campaign promotes a combination of education and action. DID YOU KNOW- 80% of all female cardiac events are preventable? Knowing your numbers- LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and BMI (body mass index)- is the first step. The second, third, fourth, etc. require action movement. This doesn’t require registering for a marathon. The secret is that ANY movement counts. It may only take these three super simple tips to get fit.
A Fast Way to Get Started and Gauge Overall Fitness
A simple and quick first-in-the-morning technique will assess your baseline and eventual “get fit” progress. Easy!!
The following Top PT Tips are born of human evolution. Going back to the time of gatherers and hunters, you either moved it, or you quite literally lost it; either from starvation, the elements, or animal attack. Over the generations, caring for the most basic needs of ourselves and our family- food and shelter- was a full time effort. Alas, it was not until automation, born of the 20th century, that humans began to sloooow down. Cars replaced walking, machines replaced housework elbow grease, and the predominance of our “work” involved sitting or standing in one place for hours at a time.
It is for this reason that Jack LaLanne in the 1950s, running events in the 70s, Jane Fonda in the 80s, and then gyms since the 90s became a phenomenon. We began to insert organized exercise, such as jumping jacks, push ups and the like, in lieu of the exercise of living. What if evolution had it right from the get go? These get fit tips assume just that!
Or run. Or my personal favorite, run walk run. We were built to use our extremities. So buck the system and add steps into everything you do. Most every phone has a health app; one that will count your steps daily. Wearable technology, such as the FitBit, does the same on the most basic settings. (So does the old fashioned but reliable pedometer!) These apps will also store your data over time and monitor your progress. It becomes an internal challenge. Try to beat your personal best day after day. You’ve heard the suggestions- park farther away from your destination. Opt for stairs over the elevator. And yes, the gym’s treadmill counts too. (Just be sure to adjust the mileage on your fitness app!)
Housework, Gardening, Home Improvement
Stop thinking of fitness as a function of conventional exercise. Absolutely tackle your chores head-on and invent some new ones while you’re at it. Scrubbing floors for 30 minutes expends 190 calories. Raking leaves 170, washing the car 150, and vacuuming 85 calories. Compare this with a one-mile run that burns 170 calories. Think about it. Housework humdrum no more! And you’ll have a sparkling abode to boot. (And maybe even a sparkling booty!)
Add movement into your Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
Fold movement into everything you do- multitask at every turn. It’s a mindset. Showering? Add in lunges and squats to get fit. Start with a set of 10 and work your way up to 3 sets of 10. Blast the music and pulse to the beat. Blow dry your hair and complete your toe rises at the same time. Desk job? Sit on a balance/stability ball for 30 minutes a day and work your way upwards. Commuter? Learn how to do your pelvic tilts (push the small of your back into the seat for 5 seconds- don’t hold your breath!) and buttocks isometrics (tense your gluteus maximus muscles for 5 seconds) in the car.
**If you have a history of heart failure, refrain from performing isometric exercise.
I’m sure you have now caught on; getting fit and finding a healthy lifestyle is one that is durable, completely user-friendly, and will last a lifetime. Change your mindset, not your exercise gear. Once you are ready to kick it up a notch (strength training, running, yoga) refer to the American Heart Association’s Fitness Basics. And gals, don’t forget to wear red on Friday, February 2nd.