Building Healthy Lifestyle Habits: Movement is essential to healthy living – Reporter-Times

Barbara B. Jordan YMCA

Exercise can improve your brain and even reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia. Read how. DepositPhotos (courtesy)

There is a TV commercial for a deodorant company that promotes the idea that “we are made to move.” Although the commercial wants us to move so that we will use the under-arm scents offered by the company, the movement theme of the commercial is true and something that we should keep in mind. Because we have become a largely sedentary society, we are experiencing a spike in public health issues, with a root in inactivity.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that obesity and being overweight are increasing in epidemic proportions. Statistics show that two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, as well as one-third of children and adolescents. Since 1980, obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled.

Overweight and obesity significantly raise the risk of many chronic health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, some cancers, sleep apnea and others.

Overweight and obesity result from the balance of too many calories and/or too little physical activity. A healthy diet and regular physical activity are the prescription for battling these issues.

What can we do about these issues?

Barbara B. Jordan YMCA and IU Health Morgan have been working together through a Kendrick Foundation grant to offer programs to help get people moving, learn about nutrition and follow through with increased activity and a healthier diet. Many need more accountability. That is where group activities can be helpful.

Many fitness centers or parks offer group exercise classes, sports teams or regular times when people can gather to participate in activities that will keep us moving. Activities such as dance, aerobic exercise, swimming, weight lifting, pickle ball or yoga are done in groups that can help each of us to have that accountability. A friend in that group can help make sure you feel needed and wanted, as well as being expected to join them each day.

Of course team activities require participation as well; if someone does not show up for a softball, volleyball, basketball or soccer match, the rest of the team may be forced to forfeit so of course attendance is necessary.

What about more solitary accountability?

If you want the peace of a walk through the woods or a chance for a long bike ride or run, you can have a training partner to share the activity. A big group is not necessary to have a good workout regularly.

It is important to remember is that your movement does not need to be a sprint around a track or a new record for how much you can lift; it can be a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood or painting your family room.

Yes we are made to move; find the best way for you and get moving!

Building Healthy Lifestyle Habits is a weekly column by Barbara B. Jordan YMCA and IU Health Morgan along with healthy lifestyle programs funded by a Kendrick Foundation grant.