April Is National Move More Month

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April is National Minority Health Month and Move More Month which features National Walking Day. You can get up and move just about anytime, anywhere to be more physically active and stay healthy. Every minute counts toward the goal of at least 150 minutes per week of exercise. Every time you stand up and do something, you’re taking a step in the right direction.

Move more at home, outdoors, and just about anywhere!

Get the whole family moving more at home.

Finding ways to be more active around the house sets a good example for kids and can help you stay on top of housework. You can combine exercise with other activities, like watching TV, cleaning, or cooking. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks:

  • Make active chore cards. Let each family member draw a card each day with a different active task that needs to be done. Cleaning up after dinner, walking the dog, taking the trash out, folding laundry, and unloading the dishwasher are all good ways to get your family up off the couch — and get the chores done.
  • Clear some space, put on some music, and take a dance break! It can re-energize a study session, lazy Sunday, or game night. Let each person take a turn as a DJ so everyone’s favorites get played.
  • Put the screens on hold. Instead of heading right for the TV or game console after dinner, make that family activity time. Take a walk, practice a sport, or play a game of hide-and-seek.
  • Tune into fitness during TV time. Walk or jog in place or on a treadmill, lift weights, or do yoga while you watch your favorite shows. Break up a TV binge with a bit of activity between episodes. Or, challenge each other to see who can do the most burpees, push-ups, or jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
  • Shake up your family’s routine. Join your kids for a bike ride or shoot some hoops before starting homework and chores. You’ll all feel better and think better.
  • Play with pets. Throw a ball or stick for the dog to fetch. Lead the cat on a string chase around the house.
  • Make family game night active. Games like Twister, charades, and hide-and-seek can get your family moving without even noticing!
  • Keep a list of kid-friendly activities handy. That way, you have solutions available anytime for when you hear, “I’m bored.”
  • Choose active toys for your kids. Balls, skateboards, hula hoops, and jump ropes can all encourage your kids to move their bodies.
  • Keep exercise equipment out. If it’s always within reach or visible as a reminder, you will be encouraged to do a quick workout.
  • Swap out the TV for music as your background noise. Always make sure it’s something that inspires you to get up and move.

Take your workout outside.

If being outdoors is your thing, it can make exercise seem more like play. You may enjoy it more and are more likely to stick with it. Here are some tips to help:

  • Dress in layers. Layering prepares you for changes in temperature and weather. And, don’t forget hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • Take advantage of nice weather. Take a walk or bike ride around your neighborhood. Research shows that getting outside can help your mental health, as well as your physical health.
  • Get your garden on. Gardening, mowing, and yard work are great ways to get active outdoors. No yard? No problem! Try container gardening or a local community garden.

Squeeze a little more activity into your life.

There are plenty of easy ways to add more movement. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Tackle a new hobby. Have you always wanted to learn how to ballroom dance, practice karate, or shoot a bow and arrow? Find an online guide and teach yourself. It’s never too late to pick up a new skill and get more active.
  • Do some easy add-ons. When you’re out walking, throw in some wall push-ups, lunges, and other exercises. Or, do short, one-minute intervals at a faster pace to boost your walk’s intensity.
  • Multi-task to move more. When you’re at home watching TV, do some micro-movements like glute squeezes, abdominal contractions, and pelvic floor exercises. Your core will thank you!

Whatever exercise you choose, make sure that it is something you enjoy doing; you are more likely to stick with it for more than a month. For more ideas on how to move more this Make_movement_fun_infographic can assist you with additional ideas.

Toi N. Degree, Associate Family & Consumer Education Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Toi may be reached by phone at 704-216-8970 or by email at toi_degree@ncsu.edu.