A recent study showed that only 1 in 4 kids aged 12 to 15 are meeting the U.S. government recommendations of an hour or more of moderate to vigorous activity each day, since the "Let's Move" campaign was launched in 2010. That is somewhat discouraging news as there are many opportunities outside of the school day for young people to be active. I also wonder if some previous forms of school based physical activities have been replaced somewhat with technology. I can recall playing kick ball, dodge ball, basketball, whiffle ball, just about any activity that involved a ball and running seemed to be a requirement – and nobody was allowed to sit out, unless of course you were on crutches or had a note from a doctor.
Yet today, our country is battling an obesity epidemic and if bad habits form in the early years then our adult society will continue to struggle with their weight and fitness levels. Perhaps we can blame it on modern technology – too many devices requiring our immediate attention while we sit. Or perhaps we can speculate that people are just too busy these days to squeeze in physical activity. Whatever the reason, following a path of inactivity can also have detrimental effects to one’s overall wellness – both physical and mental. Wellness reflects how one feels about life in addition to one’s ability to function effectively.
We need to prioritize our health, and as hard as it may be for some, we need to get up and get active. One activity that I have found easy to fit into a regular routine which does not require recruiting other people, is walking. I find it easy to take daily brisk walks in my neighborhood (during nice weather) or indoors when possible. Others may find biking, tennis, yoga, hiking or other sports that raise the heart rate to be their activity of choice. The point is, people need to identify the activities that they personally find enjoyable and will get them moving.
If your attachment to personal devices has been holding you back from exercising, you are also in luck. One can easily use a laptop or Ipad to plan a workout routine, use a phone app for tracking a workout or use a smart phone or ipod to listen to music while you exercise – all options may help to improve motivation for sticking with it as well. And if you love gadgets, there are new devices on the market today that will help you to track your physical activity, even while you sleep. Namely there are the Nike or Fitbit athletic wrist band trackers, which one can wear every day, among others. These devices can interface with your smartphone, ipad or computer and allows you to examine and monitor your activity levels. The wristbands can also serve as a daily reminder to get moving and provide the user with the ability to monitor progress, which can also serve as an incentive for making improvements over time. There are also many helpful websites, such as Myfitnesspal or Fitday; which allow you to track and monitor your calorie intake – for free. So, in summary, it would be very easy to utilize the technology and resources that are available today, which could offer some a more fulfilling and rewarding experience in one's quest for improving overall health and increasing physical activity levels.
There you have it, you can now get creative and get counting, get motivated and get moving and also get physical and digital to achieve overall wellness. What are you waiting for?