Move More All Year (Not Just Month) Long

April is the American Heart Association’s Move More Month, which promotes the benefits of regular physical activity and aims to get more people to incorporate it into their daily routines. 

However, as April draws to a close, we want to make sure we shine a spotlight on the benefits regular movement and activity offer all year long.

While April is the perfect time to shrug off winter and welcome in spring, there’s plenty of reasons to stay active all year long, and — with one-third of adults over 50 getting no regular physical activity — there’s also plenty of room for improvement.

The trick to incorporating more physical activity into your daily life (and the trick for fully embracing any healthy habit), are two things: consistency and incremental progression. As anyone who’s tried to hold on to a New Year’s resolution can attest, a sure-fire recipe for failure is to go too hard, too fast. Want to eat more vegetables? Start by adding a serving to two meals per week, not immediately becoming a vegetarian. Same goes for physical activity. Start slow, stay steady, and resist the urge to sign up for that expensive year-long contract locking you into daily boot camp-style workouts everyday at 3 a.m.

Here are some ways to do just that, and some tips for stepping things up when you’re ready to, courtesy of the American Heart Association:

  • Fit in 150+: Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate–intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity (or a combination of both), preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Move More, Sit Less: Get up and move throughout the day. Any activity is better than none. Even light-intensity activity can offset the serious health risks of being sedentary.
  • Add Intensity: Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise is best. Your heart will beat faster and you’ll breathe harder than normal. As you get used to being more active, increase your time and/or intensity to get more benefits.
  • Add Muscle: Include moderate- to high – intensity muscle-strengthening activity (like resistance or weight training) at least twice a week.

The most important thing to remember, however, is to just get moving. Even light-intensity movement like walking at a slow, conversational pace can reduce the risk of negative health impacts that come from a sedentary life.

So, time to stop reading, and time to get on your feet and get moving. See you out there!