More than 26% of U.S. adults report that in the past 30 days, the only activity they got was whatever was required to do their job. There are a lot of sit-and-stare-at-a-computer-screen jobs and working from home has slashed the notion of motion even more! Only about one in four of you even gets the still-official minimum of 150 minutes of activity a week. Pssst! We think 300 minutes weekly will become a new minimum.
So here's our idea: Listen to your legs — that's right, your legs. If you're too inactive, they'll be complaining loud and clear.
Hear a pop, creak, grind and feel an ache or pain when you stand up or sit down? The noises themselves can be benign, but when there's pain you want to work to strengthen thigh and calf muscles to take pressure off the sore spots. Weight loss, exercise and physical therapy are all beneficial. Talk with your doc to get a routine that helps — instead of aggravating — your condition.
Do you have tingly sensations that surround your calves, ankles and toes? There are serious medical conditions that are associated with these sensations — diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc. But they can also come from sitting in one position too long. Set an alarm to get up and walk for at least five minutes every 30 minutes or 10 minutes every hour.
Do your muscles shout if you have to go up or down more than a short flight of stairs? Your goal is to be able to climb four flights of stairs in 60 seconds or less. Start slow and steady — see what you can do when pushing yourself comfortably. The reward: Studies show you'll live longer.
Take steps today. It's time to stand up on your own two legs — and have some fun getting healthier and stronger. To do that not only do you need to dedicate time five days a week to exercise that makes you sweat, raises your heart rate and uses your leg muscles, you need to move more the rest of the day too.
"Getting 30 minutes of physical activity per day, or 150 minutes per week, is what's currently recommended, but you still have the potential to undo all that good work if you sit too long," says Sebastien Chastin, lead author of a new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The researchers found that if you really want to extend your healthy lifespan you need a combination of activities — and more minutes dedicated to exercising.
You can reduce your risk of premature death by 30% if you get 55 minutes of exercise, four hours of light physical activity, and less than 11 hours of sitting most days.
If spending more time on light physical activity works better for you, you can reduce your 55 minutes of exercise most days to 13 vigorous minutes and then go for 5.5 hours of light physical activity and less than 10.3 hours of sitting.
Light physical activity may be harder to work into your day than a short burst of exercise. So here are some around-the-house moves that burn calories, use muscles, improve blood flow and generally help you become more active. Studies show even trivial movement increases your metabolic rate substantially.
Wash the car by hand for 30 minutes. That burns 200 calories if you weigh 185 pounds.
Walk your dog for 30 minutes. At four miles an hour, you're doing a 15-minute mile. You'll burn 135 calories if you're 125 pounds and 200 calories if you're 200 pounds. Faster? Better.
Garden. It can build muscles and burn calories. Half an hour can use up to 200 calories if you're planting new trees, moving plants and soil or digging with a hand trowel.
As the world opens back up, open up your day to more movement. That will make every day a pleasure as you stay younger longer.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit sharecare.com.
(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D.
and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
King Features Syndicate