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Everyone should be moving more

Updated on January 29, 2015

Defining terms

Many people do not know what is considered physical activity and are often intimidated by what they perceive to be the few ways to be physically active.

"Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure."-http://www.who.int/topics/physical_activity/en/

So that means anything that can be done is considered physical activity. A common misconception is only things like running and lifting are physical activity and the only ways to stay healthy.

While it is very true that running, lifting, or activities like them can be great ways to get maintain and improve healthy, there are many other ways that people can be healthy physically.

Lets talk about some of those ways.

Walking

Walking is a great physical activity that can be done throughout anyone's life. It is something that is easily adjustable and adaptable to the individual doing it. Walking speed, location, and duration can be easily altered in whatever way needed.

Walking is generally a low-impact activity that doesn't put a lot of stress on the joints, which is precisely what some populations of people need. It can also be a method to build up endurance before doing distance running.

Many people think that running burns more calories than walking, but the same amount of calories are burned when walking or running the same distance. The only difference is the amount of calories burned afterwards. Running will burn more in the time after but will still have the same amount burned during the duration of the workout.

This activity is also great for people who are just startings or are beginners. Since it is a lower intensity and impact activity, generally, it can be a great way to build a habit of being physical active.

Walking alone, with a friend, a group, or with a pet can be an effective way to be physically active.


Shaping physical activity

No two people are alike. People don't enjoy all the same things. That's why there are many different kinds of books, music, and movies. And physical activities.

Physical activity should be as individualized as possible. When a program is individualized to fit personal desires and needs, it becomes much easier to be physically active on regular basis.

Find something that is enjoyable and stick to it.

Making a habit

In the case of physical activity, develop a habit is an effective way to be consistent with how much activity is completed.

Intense workouts are great for some people, and those people can be highly motivated to do those kind of workouts all the time, but for some people, they don't like things at that intensity level and can become discouraged from not only that in particular, but any physical activity at all.

Which is not good at all.

One of the keys to starting a positive habit of physical activity is to start doing some form of physical activity everyday. Even if it's really short. A ten minute "burst" is better than nothing and if you can do that everyday, a habit of physical activity can start to be built.

As physical activity becomes more ingrained into a daily routine it can become expanded and changed as needed. But the key is to get started and to get started doing something that you enjoy.

The goal shouldn't be ten minutes, though. The goal for every person should be at least a half an hour.

Physical activity poll

How much physical activity do you get daily?

See results

Do what you want

If the desire to do a certain activity is there, then do that activity. Whether it's badminton, basketball, walking, or something else, pick an activity that is enjoyable and something that can be done on routine basis.

But don't feel limited to just that activity. Trying new things can be a great way to mix up a routine and find news things that could be added and enjoyed.

Finding out what you like to do will help you be more likely to be physically active because an activity is considered enjoyable by someone it becomes more likely to be done by the individual.


Importance of Physical activity

According to choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity physical activity can help you,

  • Increase your chances of living longer
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Decrease your chances of becoming depressed
  • Sleep well at night
  • Move around more easily
  • Have stronger muscles and bones
  • Stay at or get to a healthy weight
  • Be with friends or meet new people
  • Enjoy yourself and have fun

Some risks of not being physical activity from the same site are,

  • Get heart disease
  • Get type 2 diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high blood cholesterol
  • Have a stroke

One that isn't mentioned is the risk of being overweight or obese. Not being physical activity increases the chance of these problems and being overweight or obese increases the risk of the above listed dangers.


Steps of Becoming physically active

  1. Fully commit to the idea of being physical active
  2. Find out what things are enjoyable for you and are able to be done consistently
  3. Find what setting you want to be physical active in(people, place, etc.)
  4. Hold yourself accountable to be consistent
  5. Have fun. Physical activity is meant to be enjoyable.

Partners

A partner may not be for everyone, but for some people they can be a great way to create accountability to someone other than yourself for maintaining consistent physical activity. And many activities require partners or are made better with them.

When looking for a partner to do various physical activities with, it's important to find a person that is reliable, has similar interests, and is available. If they don't have the same interests, they can still be a good partner, but trade-offs will have to made. As they do in any sort of relationship.

Having a friend that is passionate about a certain activity can be a beneficial thing for you personally. A reason for not liking an activity may be because of a lack of ability with that task. If someone isn't very good at an activity, they are much less likely to do that activity by choice. But having a friend that does have that ability and/or interest can help to develop your own skill.

Once you become more able and skilled at that activity, it will increase the likelihood of you deciding to do that task on your own. Perceived competence is the term for this. If a person has more perceived competence at an activity they will more likely choose to do that activity.

Perceived competence is simply how competent an individual feels about something. In physical activity, it relates a lot to the skill level of a particular activity, but it can be found many different aspects of life. A person that studies for a test is more likely to view themselves are being more capable at that subject area.

Partners can also be great for feedback. Having another set of eyes to give advice or suggestions about how to do something better can be a great way to improve skill at a task.

Physical activity for life

Being physically active is something everyone should focus on throughout their life. It can be beneficial to people of all ages. There are exceptions, as with anything, but the vast, vast majority of people should strive to be physical active every single day.

These activities can be intense and complex, or simple and leisurely. The most important thing is to do what is best for you personally.

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