Fitness beginnings: Take exercise breaks

Since the beginning of this physical activity series, you may have made the commitment to get healthier by incorporating more physical activity into your day. You may have even started regularly exercising. Congratulations on your progress. To continue on your fitness journey, find ways to incorporate even more movement into your day.

Even if we regularly exercise, many of us sit for long periods of time at work, at home and while traveling. Research has linked this sedentary behavior with several health concerns including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Regardless of your current activity level, studies have found that standing up and walking for five minutes every hour during the workday can improve your mood, make you more relaxed and increase your concentration.

Here are some tips to get you moving more during the work day:

· Instead of emailing a colleague, relay the message in person.

· Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator.

· Stand while talking on the phone.

· Set a timer to remind you to get up every one to two hours at work and walk.

· Go for a short stroll on your lunch break several days a week.

· If possible, get a standing desk at work. It doesn’t mean you have to stand all day. You can get an adjustable desk that lets you alternate between standing and sitting. You can also improvise with a high table or counter.

For more information on ways to get active, contact the Bell County Extension Office.

Rebecca Miller is the Bell County extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin. Source: Natalie Jones, UK physical activity program coordinator