We’ve all heard the saying, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” And while exercise is always at the top of the list of what you can do to stay healthy, it’s so easy to run out of time and defer it to tomorrow.
That’s why at this year’s Aging in Place Workshop organized by Generations Magazine, I spoke about simple things we can all do to stay healthy and functional as we age. Researchers are now telling us that even if we don’t spend 30 minutes on an exercise bike or walking five times a week, we can still improve our health with “exercise snacks,” short bursts of activity that add up to an amount that is beneficial to our health.
Make it a NEAT day
Another term that’s surfaced is “NEAT” or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. NEAT refers to everyday activities like yard work, housework, walking or even fidgeting. About 2½ hours of standing and light walking around the house per day is perfect. And if that seems too much, just remember to move every half hour. The latest studies have found that sitting for longer than 30 minutes without moving can increase mortality rates.
CHAIR STANDS – go from sitting to standing at least five times whenever you go to sit down or stand up from a chair (without using your hands)
HIGH KNEE TAPS – lift your leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor, then tap your knee with the palm of your opposite hand and continue marching (sustain through a commercial break)
HEEL RAISES – while standing tall, raise your heels off the ground until you’re standing on the balls of your feet and repeat 10 times at the sink before and after you wash your hands
SINGLE LEG STANDS – stand on one leg for 10 seconds whenever you’re near a counter (alternate, making sure you don’t lock the knee of your weight-bearing leg)
Most importantly, remember to MOVE!