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News You Can Use: Moving matters: Get tips to improve your fitness

Shelly Barnes • Updated Apr 12, 2017 at 7:00 PM

What comes to mind when you hear the words physical activity? If you are like many, your thoughts may race to images of gym memberships, confusing workout equipment and intimidating classes. Yet, this does not have to be the case.  Physical activity can be fun, simple, and with a little planning, easy to fit into your daily routine.

Soghra Jarvandi, assistant professor with UT Extension, said adults should strive to begin or maintain a physically active lifestyle. “Adults should work toward at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, which is about 30 minutes of physical activity five times per week. That’s the recommendation listed in the most recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, published in 2008 by the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,” said Jarvandi. “This activity can be anything you enjoy doing, and it does not have to involve any special equipment or gym memberships.”

If you are not ready to take on 30 minutes of physical activity five times per week, don’t worry. According to Christopher Sneed, a family and consumer sciences specialist with UT Extension, it is OK to start small and work toward a longer-term goal of meeting the physical activity guidelines. “To get started,” said Sneed, “you can begin to think of ways to incorporate physical activity into your day whether at home, at work or at play.”

Jarvandi and Sneed offer these simple suggestions to get you started:

At home:

• exercise while watching television.

• use chores as a way to move more – clean the house or wash the car.

• walk the dog – don’t just watch the dog walk.

• play with the children – splash in a puddle, dance, toss a softball or kick around a soccer ball.

• push the baby stroller.

At work:

• replace your “coffee break” with a brisk five- or 10-minute walk.

• walk with a co-worker during lunch.

• try walking meetings.

• use stairs instead of the elevator.

• park your car a little further from the building’s entrance.

• get on and off the bus a couple of blocks away from your work.

At play:

• walk up and down the soccer or ball field sidelines while watching your children play.

• take a nature walk.

• plant and take care of a garden.

• instead of calling friends, plan to take a walk together and chat.

• start your day with some gentle stretching.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sphill24@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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