Employee Wellness: Unexpected Ways You are Being Active
There are many health benefits you can obtain from having an active lifestyle. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, being active can reduce the risk of diseases, help with weight maintenance, strengthen bones and muscles, improve brain health and your ability to do daily activities. Among the benefits described above, some immediate benefits from exercising include, reduced feelings of anxiety and stress and boosted mood. Exercise helps you sleep better and helps keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age.
It is fine if you are someone who doesn’t like static exercises or going to the gym--there are many physical activities you can find joyful and fun. Here are some examples of physical activities you can try instead:
Playing a sport
Although we know physical activity is good for our health, with busy days, it is hard to fit in a routine. The great news is there are many ways you may already be being physically active without even knowing it. Here are some examples:
1. Walking your dog
Walking your dog might be one of your daily routines already. We are aware of the health benefits this promotes on our fur friends, but did you know dog owners enjoy numerous health and social benefits as well?
Benefits of walking your dog include:
Improved cardiovascular fitness
Lower blood pressure
Stronger muscles and bones
2. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
Taking the stairs can actually be more beneficial than you might think. According to the WebMd Exercise Calculator, the average human can burn about 123 calories in just 10 minutes of taking the stairs. With this in mind, if you go up and down the stairs for 10 minutes every day, you can burn up to 2500 calories in a month. Not bad for just a few minutes of your time! Additionally, taking the stairs also engages your core for balance and helps you maintain proper posture.
3. Parking your car away from the entrance
Parking away from your office's or the supermarket's entrance can help you be more active and increase your steps daily. Studies have shown that every 500 step-increment is linked to a 7% less chance of dying from a cardiovascular related disease. Small changes like this one, makes a difference in the long term. In addition, parking your car away from the entrance can help you get some fresh air and enjoy the benefits of a sunny day such as getting an additional boost of vitamin D.
Did you know that gardening burns around 300 calories per hour? You might not realize it but this activity is a great example of moderate-intensity exercise. Gardening helps people in multiple ways including:
Promotes endurance, strength, mobility, and flexibility
Increases relaxation and reduces stress
Provides you with fresh produce or beautiful plants
Start by making small changes like the ones mentioned above. This can simply help you get started with adding more steps and burning calories in an easy way. Incorporate more joyful movement or activities that help you feel peaceful. Things like playing with your kids or going for a 30-minute walk with your dog can make a difference. Remember, any activity that makes your body move or increases your heart rate is a great opportunity to be more active.
Written by Samantha Prieto, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern