Start off your New Year with movement! Most people think of planned exercise as their sole focus for their fitness regimen. The word “exercise” is often thought of as working out in a gym or taking a formal class. Others focus on walking 10,000 steps per day. Yet physical activity does not have to be limited to traditional exercise. Any physical activity that gets you up and moving is important to improving your health. This type of activity has a clever acronym: NEAT. This term was coined at Mayo Clinic, and stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). This includes activities like housecleaning, gardening, playing with grandkids, and washing your car.
“There is no magic bullet to healthy aging, but research shows there is a multi-factorial process impacting how well you will age. One critical element to evaluate in your lifestyle is your activity level. Physical activity increases your chances of living well. When combined with a good diet, you will do even better as you age. Engaging in physical activity improves your brain function for memory and executive function. It is important to sit less and move more. You need to do more than just walk 10 minutes. Even if you have orthopedic conditions or other medical challenges, you can find opportunities to add movement into your day. Ideally you should move about at least once an hour. If you ever needed a reason to increase your level of physical activity, here it is: those who engage in a lot of physical activity decrease their risk of dementia.” – Warren G. Thompson, M.D., Internal Medicine specialist and Chair of the Residency Accreditation Committee, Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Take Action Now
- Train smart. Partner with a fitness professional at your local fitness center to help you engage in proper techniques.
- Track your movement. Use a pedometer or an activity monitor (Fitbit, Gruve, etc.) to track your total daily movement. Some folks find this helpful in reaching their daily goals.
- Try a video. To help you get started, get a free copy of the Mayo Clinic Patient Education videos Mindful Movements: Gentle Yoga and Gentle Movements Tai Chi Qigong.
What is your favorite form of physical activity? Is there an activity you would like to incorporate in 2019?