4 tips to move more in April

Staying active is a no-brainer when it comes to improving how you look and feel, yet fewer than one in four U.S. adults are getting the federal physical activity recommendations for aerobic and strengthening activity.

This month the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, is challenging everyone to get moving.

Move More Month is part of the association’s Healthy For Good™ movement, which inspires people everywhere to make lasting changes in their health and their lives, one small step at a time.

“The human body was designed to move,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention.

“Your body thanks you for moving by relieving anxiety, depression and even anger, and rewards you by making your brain and heart stronger.”

Not only can moving more help improve self-confidence, energy levels and sleep quality, those who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about seven years longer than those who are not active and are obese.

People are encouraged to share how they’re moving more in April by using the hashtags #HealthyForGood and #MoveWithHeart on social media.

“Just 150 minutes a week of activity that gets your heart pumping and leaves you a little breathless can provide major health benefits,” said Lenora Johnson, DrPh, director Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education and Communications at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

“We started #MoveWithHeart in February to encourage everyone to move more and we’re excited to see the American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good promoting it in April.”

The American Heart Association’s Healthy For Good movement encourages everyone to get moving with the following tips:

Work it… at Work – Whether you work in an office, at home or behind the wheel, chances are you spend a lot of time sitting.

Not enough time to move? Try moving more while you perform routine tasks. Start by taking one weekly meeting to go by walking while you meet.

Other options include taking the stairs more often, parking farther out or taking stretch breaks throughout the day.

Play with Fido – Most pet owners will tell you that having a pet can relieve stress and boost overall happiness.

But did you know that people who walk their dogs are more likely to get the recommended amount of physical activity than those who don’t.

According to one study, dog-walkers got an average of 30 minutes more exercise a day than non-walkers.

Make it a Family Affair – You don’t need to break the bank to move more with your kids. There are numerous tips to keep your family active on the cheap.

And if the weather is bad or outdoor activities are out of the question, try dancing, playing or cleaning indoors. Want to get out? Go for a walk around the mall or check out recreation centers in your neighborhood.

Bust a Move Anywhere – The American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week.

That can be accomplished by taking small activity breaks, setting reasonable expectations and finding a move more buddy.

No matter what you do, it’s important to stay motivated by making every move count and celebrate your accomplishments.

Find resources and join the movement to be Healthy For Good at heart.org/MoveMore.