Let’s get moving, together.
In recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 12-18, RWJBarnabas Health wants to remind us to make physical activity a priority.
Many of us today live a busy but sedentary lifestyle, spending most of our time sitting for work, school or during our downtime. Sedentary behavior and low physical activity can be harmful to your health and increase your risk of certain diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
“It’s important to incorporate regular movement and physical activity into your weekly schedule,” Dr. Andy Anderson, chief medical and quality officer at RWJBarnabas Health, said. “You don’t need to be a marathon runner to see the benefits of regular activity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, which is only about 20 minutes a day. You want to be breathing hard but still able to hold a conversation.”
Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight, boost your mood, reduce stress, improve sleep and, over time, it can help reduce your chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, certain forms of cancer and other diseases. In recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week and RWJBarnabas Health’s continued commitment to advancing patient safety and wellness across the health care system, Anderson shared his Top 8 tips to help you safely get moving and stay moving.
- Start slow and easy. If you’re just starting a fitness routine, it’s important to ease yourself into physical activity. Even starting with 10 minutes of low-impact activity like walking and steadily increasing the amount of time can make a big difference. Other great low impact activities for beginners include hiking, biking, swimming and even gardening or yard work.
- Grab a partner. Fitness is more fun with a friend, family member or even your dog. Having a partner can help keep you more accountable and more likely to keep up with your routine.
- Get outdoors. Fitness doesn’t only happen in the gym. Studies have shown that getting outdoors has benefits for our mental health and can help keep you motivated.
- Learn something new. Taking a fitness class is a great way to incorporate a new activity into your routine and build some stability into your exercise schedule. Research also shows benefits to working out in a group setting, such as increased motivation and accountability.
- Focus on strength and flexibility. While aerobic activity is important, varying your routine with some strength and flexibility training is key. Try some light weightlifting twice a week to help with muscle strength, or doing yoga to increase your flexibility and balance.
- Consult a trainer. If you’re concerned about getting started with a fitness routine or working towards a specific goal, you may want to consider consulting a trainer. They can help you put together a program to safely get started based on your skill level and advise on when and how to increase your activity.
- Get moving after injury or illness. If you’re recovering from a long illness, injury or surgery, it’s important to get moving again and complete all physical therapy prescribed by your doctor to avoid the risk of complications or reinjury. Physical therapy is about building mobility, strength and coordination so you can return to the activities you enjoy.
- Stay safe. While staying active is important, you also want to make sure you’re taking the proper precautions to avoid injury. Be sure to stretch and warm up before any workout. And if you’re feeling consistent pain or discomfort during or after activity, you should consult your physician.