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AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—A popular New Year’s Resolution is to create a healthier lifestyle throughout the upcoming year. Doing some exercise and making healthy food choices can be part of a healthy lifestyle. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) seeks to help Alabamians find easy ways to become more physically active without creating a burden on the wallet.
Physical activity can be as important as eating healthy foods. Daily exercise can improve blood pressure and cholesterol, improve mood, increase energy levels, improve self-image, and reduce stress.
“Everyone can benefit from exercise regardless of age or ability,” Alabama Extension Community Health Specialist Erin Reznicek said. “Movement is a great start to being happier and healthier. The immediate benefits, like boosting energy and mood should be reason enough to get moving.”
Better than Nothing
Any physical activity individuals can fit into the schedule is better than none, and the best exercises are the ones you are motivated to do.
Overall health and fitness can be improved with regular physical activity. One goal to start with is to be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days during the week. Small amounts of physical activity can add up.
“Start with something simple like taking a walk listening to your favorite music,” Reznicek said. “Take your kids on an adventure to the park, walk, jog, skip and dance to get there. Then 30 minutes a day of exercise doing something you enjoy doesn’t seem like a lot and you are rewarded with all the wonderful benefits!”
Accomplishing individual goals of being physically active for 30 minutes most days of the week doesn’t mean you need a gym membership. There are small and simple changes one can make in everyday life to increase physical activity levels.
Such changes could be getting off the bus a stop early, parking further away from work or taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
Other daily exercises could be:
- Walking with a friend (remember to practice physical distancing protocols).
- Clean the house.
- Wash your car.
- Mow the lawn with a push mower.
- Plant a vegetable or flower garden.
- Play tag, Simon Says or hopscotch with your children.
- Turn on your favorite music and dance.