This year, the theme of the New England 61-Day Challenge is to:
- STEP UP to a more active lifestyle
- EAT UP more fruits and vegetables, and
- DRINK UP the appropriate amount of water
As with any change in your life or habits, it helps to not overdo it at first, and to make changes in steps, and that’s especially important when trying to get active after being sedentary for a long time.
“I think when people start exercising they need to start slow and go slow,” said Dr. Jeffrey Brown of the Connecticut Sports Medicine Institute at Saint Francis, in Hartford.
“You don’t have to get a gym membership, you don’t have to buy a treadmill or something more advanced,” said Dr. Rabia Cheema an internist and primary care physician for Trinity Health of New England.
They said it’s as simple as getting up and moving more. All you need is your own two feet and a little bit of time.
“Even going for a walk for five to ten minutes is really important,” said Dr. Cheema, “you have to change the habit. You have to get your body used to making these changes on a daily basis so you don’t think about it.”
“Ten or fifteen minutes is a really good way to start and if that goes well then you can increase your walking maybe three to five minutes each subsequent day,” said Dr. Brown.
If that much of a time commitment seems daunting, you can break it up into chunks, and get creative to find the time:
- Walk a slightly longer route to wherever you’re going, be it at work or school.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park further away from where you’re going, which forces you to walk more
- While driving home from work, park at your local school for a quick five-minute walk.
Dr. Brown said you don’t even have to focus on walking.
“An easy thing to do at a work or a school site is some light lunges and even some wall squats where you stand against a wall and gently squat down, ten to fifteen times several times per day,” said Dr. Brown.