Physical activity is movement of body muscles accompanied by burning of calories. Physical activity is so important for normal health that a modest regular physical activity has the potential to check overweight, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, fractures, cancers, and depression.
- Physical activity is different from exercise as the latter is a planned activity with a clearly defined objective to strengthen or maintain one or more body functions. Physical activity, on the other hand, is more general, community oriented activity that includes activities done as part of routine household work, occupational needs, transportation, and recreational activities.
- Exercise is a sub category of physical activity of more personal nature.
- It is estimated that nearly one third of world population above 15 years of age is not doing sufficient physical activity.
- More than 3.2 million human lives every year are lost due to to lack of physical activity.
- The main reasons for lack of physical activity are decreased participation of communities in physical activities, preference for modes of transport which require passive sitting, lack of facilities for workouts, and popularity of sports that require less muscular movement, urban congestion, unsafe environment, and lack of awareness and motivation.
Before we go on to tips to undertake appropriate physical activity levels, let us see how much physical activity is recommended for us. For children and young persons aged 5–17, at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity is recommended. Adults of the age group 18–64 years need to engage in either 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week. Individuals of the age 65 and above should undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activities in a week. Anyone logging in extra efforts can derive additional advantage. As far as possible, older adults should remain as much physically active as they can within their health and mobility constraints.
Tips for Improving Physical Activity
- Whether you are already physically active or have just decided to change your status, you should talk to your health care provider about your concerns, goals, and how you plan to achieve them.
- One has to be patient, consistent, and persistent. The impact of modification of your physical activities may not be apparent for the first few months. Always remember that this is a lifestyle change whose advantages are yours to enjoy for the rest of your life.
- The opportunities for physical activity need to be created, rather than wait for them to arise. Such opportunities are never the same for any two individuals. It is individual’s responsibility to scan one’s lifestyle and scoop out opportunities. Therefore, it is always better to integrate physical activity into normal routine, rather than waiting for a dedicated time slot to be created.
- Invest in a pedometer, if you can.
Let me show you how you can do it under different settings. Remember that it is you and you only who know best about your circumstances, responsibilities, and constraints. So go ahead and make any changes that serve you.
Within your home:
- Attempt to do your housework yourself instead of hiring a help
- Try doing menial jobs like dusting, clearing the kitchen areas and the kitchen working top, your workstation by yourself.
- Walk around into different areas within your home and collect trash and say hello to kids and other family members more often.
- Have short walks in your balcony or in the vicinity of house several time s a day.
- Walk down to your grocery store..
- Fetch your needs from other rooms of the house yourself and make minimal use of remote control.
- Do not look for a parking place closer to the home or the marketplace. While visiting a mall, have a round of the facility before entering any store.
- Stretch to reach items stored in high places.
- Invest in exercise equipment and use it regularly.
- Associate with persons who are ready to walk with you to the market or the religious place.
- Go biking with your family.
- Play with the kids and the pets.
- Clean your car yourself if that is possible.
- Plant trees or flowers and tend to them regularly.
- After you have attained some success, be a mentor to another and help him or her improve physical activity
At the Workplace:
- Move your own files and documents within your office.
- Use stairs more often than the elevators both while going up or climbing down different floors. You might consider getting down one or two floors ahead of your destination floor and use stairs for the rest of the distance.
- If given a choice, get the cabin or the room at the farthest end of your office complex
- While staying at a hotel, utilize their fitness facilities and keep yourself energized by listening to audio fitness training.
- Constitute a sports club and hold events to raise funds for charity.
- Purposely walk down to your office or home after alighting from the transport
- Take short breaks from work and do some stretching exercises.
- Fetch your own beverages and visit the cafeteria rather than ordering your refreshments to your cabin.
- Stretch out or just walk for a few minutes every half an hour.
At the Sports/ Gym /Outings
- Plan family outings and integrate physical activity with fun and entertainment.
- Go sightseeing and walk around museums, lakes, hilltops while visiting new city.
- Go biking whenever that is feasible.
- While on a beach, try playing with balloons, balls and play with your pet or fly a kite.
- Play singles tennis or badminton rather than doubles.
- Use hand-rowed boats rather than a steam boat for boating.
- Join yoga, swimming, martial arts or dance classes.
- Go for long walks and collect leaves, flowers of different plants and try photographing natural scenes from different angles and distances.
- Set realistic goals and use an incremental approach to attain your goals for improvement in various parameters of measuring improvement in physical activity. Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Losing one pound weight in a week is considered to be an achievable, sustainable, and a reasonable goal.
- Modify your food and eating habits by eating slowly, learning to weigh and measure food items and avoiding foods with high sugar content. The food craving is easier to handle once you have exercised self control for the initial some weeks. So be patient and let that stage come.
- Never skip meals,
- Pay attention to the food while you are eating. Do not let distractions like mobile phones or television interrupt you while you are on dining table
- Have some water 30 minutes before your meals time
- Stock your kitchen and refrigerator with only low calorie healthy food items.
- Stick your refrigerator door with appropriate reminders and notes to keep you motivated
- Limit snacking to the bare minimum.
- Weigh yourself only once in a week in the morning.
- Join support groups focusing on weight control
- Make use of apps and other software to keep you on track.
You are permitted to share, distribute, print, or reproduce this article for private use with proper citation of the source. The article is a part of our service to fellow human beings as a means of health education and awareness enhancement to minimize dependence on healthcare
Dr Vinay Kumar
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
+91-93 199 299 00
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