Article contributed by Erin Haefner
I was recently reading an article on the American Cancer Society’s website titled, “Obesity-Related Cancers Rising in Young Adults in the U.S., Millennials have about double the risk of some cancers compared to Baby Boomers at same age.” And I was shocked at what I was reading. Something that stuck out to me was this: “The increasing risk of obesity-related cancers in younger generations has the potential to halt or reverse the progress we’ve achieved in reducing the death rate from cancer in the last 20 to 30 years.”
What this boils down to is that more and more people under the age of 50 (millennials and younger generations) are at greater risk to get an obesity-related cancer, and something needs to change. The world of technology is constantly evolving, taking our motivation, energy, and healthy lifestyle away. As a member of Generation Z myself, I feel compelled to share some tips on how to stay active in a world that is changing around us.
- Give yourself a step goal for the day. I own a Fitbit and it has really helped motivate me to get 10,000 steps a day. Owning one, I have also found that I am more motivated to be active for at least 30 minutes every day, as the Fitbit tracks your activity level through your heart rate throughout the day. Walking is a simple, yet very beneficial form of exercise.
- Take the stairs. I just finished up my junior year of college and I lived on the 8th floor of my dormitory. On the ground floor there are practice rooms that the music majors of the building (me) could practice late at night without having to walk across campus when it was dark outside. Every day after classes, rehearsals, and lessons, I walked up the stairs to my 8th floor room. I also took the 8 flights of stairs whenever I would use the practice rooms, which was quite often. Of course, this was hard at first, but it just got easier and easier every day. I never had to wait for an elevator, and my legs have never felt better.
- Clean your house – often! I don’t know about you, but whenever I have ever dusted, vacuumed, swept, or likewise, I have always been a little winded after those tasks. Maybe it was the constant moving of my arms, or the weight of the cleaning supplies I was carrying, but it felt like a small workout. I was able to jam to some music, get exercise, AND have a nice, clean, and organized house in the end. It’s a win-win-win!
- Dance. When I was in high school, I used to be a dancer. I was on a dance team for two years and I loved every minute of it. We competed in tournaments and we put on recitals often. Now that I am in college, and have a full-time summer job, I don’t have time to participate in extracurriculars like that. But, whenever I have a free moment, even if it’s just for an hour or less, I dance. I find dancing to be a way to escape the world. I don’t care if I am bad, or if there is no organization to the dance I am doing, as long as I am having fun, I am dancing my little heart out. This is the time to dance when nobody is watching, because there IS nobody watching!
- Make an exercise challenge out of your favorite TV show or movie. I’ll be honest. Despite my busy schedule, I still somehow find the time to watch a lot of TV. One of my favorite shows, and a favorite of a lot of people’s, is Friends. I have been challenging myself to do an exercise whenever a character does one of their signature things. For example, if you are familiar with the show, here are some of the things I do for each of the characters:
- Monica: Do 25 jumping jacks whenever Monica says “I know!”
- Rachel: Do 30 sit-ups whenever Rachel talks about anything related to shopping or fashion.
- Chandler: Do a plank for one minute whenever Chandler is sarcastic.
- Phoebe: Run in place for the duration of one of Phoebe’s songs.
- Ross: Do 15 burpees whenever Ross says “We were on a break!” or talks about dinosaurs.
- Joey: Do 20 squats whenever Joey is eating something or talking about food.
- Do arm stretches at your desk. I am working here at Mayo Clinic this summer and I am doing a lot of sitting at a desk for hours. As much as I can, I am doing arm stretches while I sit. I also try to get up and move every chance I get, even if I am just walking to the bathroom. Check out some of Mayo Clinic’s tips on this!
I would love to hear how you stay active! Feel free to leave a comment down below.
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