The American Heart Association is encouraging Americans “move more” for their heart health throughout the month of April.
“it doesn’t matter whether you get activity in short bursts of a few minutes of longer periods of time,” says Eduardo Ssanchez, M.D., AHA’s chief medical officer for prevention. “ Any activity — even small, short bouts — will provide a health benefit. If you have been totally inactive and start exercising, you will benefit. But even if you’re already active, adding more movement adds even more benefit.”
Most adults spend the majority of their waking hours at work and find themselves with little time or energy left at the day’s end for exercise, the AHA says. Experts say those who struggle to carve out time for a separate workout should use any opportunity to sneak in physical activity throughout the day. Focusing on moving more and sitting less throughout the day can help, the AHA adds, saying there’s benefit to any physical activity regardless of duration.
For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination of those activity, or a combination of those activities, such as brisk walking, yoga, or gardening. In addition, the AHA recommends two days per week of moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity, such as running, jumping rope or swimming laps.
April, which the AHA has dubbed ‘Move More Month,’ is an opportunity to examine personal habits and to strive to incorporate additional daily activity, the Association says.
“The month of April, with its reputation for renewal and growth, is the perfect time to examine your personal exercise routine and make any adjustments needed,” says Dr. Jonathan Henderson, pediatrician with Utica Pediatrics and Utica AHA advisory board president. “Move More Month can help you get started on the right path and is a good reminder that small choices to move more daily add up to better your health. At Utica Pediatrics, we recently installed a gym for our employees so we can all move more at the office.”
To incorporate more movement into the work day, the AHA recommends:
Taking a walk during lunch break. Don’t focus on the step count or the minutes, the AHA says, just moev more when your schedule allows.
Increase activity in simple ways around the office. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farthest from the door in the parking lot, convert conference room meetings to walking meetings or get up and walk to someone’s desk instead of emailing or calling.
Schedule exercise on your calendar. Add exercise to your calendar and treat your scheduled time like an important meeting.
Find a partner. Having a partner to keep you accountable and motivated can be the key to keeping your healthy habits moving forward.
Take advantage of workplace wellness offerings. Ask your supervisor or human resources department what employee wellness resources and incentives are available.
Starting a journey to be more active at work can inspire colleagues and lead to a healthier workplace in addition to boosting personal health and wellbeing, the AHA says. Visit heart.org/movemoremonth/ for more tips and resources.