Physical activity is a very popular topic, but it’s oftentimes made out to be overcomplicated and overwhelming for those trying to learn more about it. Being active is about so much more than just losing fat, gaining muscle and looking good. A simpler approach, like what the MOVE! program offers, is to focus on improving overall health, function and quality of life.
The MOVE! program isn’t just a “diet” or an exercise program. MOVE uses three combined components to achieve results: nutrition, behavior change and physical activity.
MOVE’s core ideas include encouraging healthy eating, increasing physical activity, developing behavior change skills and promoting even small weight loss with an easy-to-follow, evidenced-based program. With these strategies, Veterans can reduce health risks, prevent certain diseases, improve their quality of life and even live longer.
The human body is meant to move. Unfortunately, many factors increase sedentary behaviors and lifestyles. Humans need to be more aware of their activity levels and make an effort to consciously include more activity into their lives.
Good, consistent movement helps maintain joint and tissue health, bone density, adequate circulation, good lymphatic system function, memory, executive function, response time and improved learning. It also helps with tissue growth and repair, good functional ability and independence, and prevent various diseases.
Getting started with a physical activity and exercise regimen does not need to be difficult. The main goal is simple – be active more and sit less. It’s important to find activities and exercises that you enjoy so that you’ll be more likely to stick with them longterm. This could include strength, cardio/aerobic exercises, flexibility/mobility, and/or stability/balance training.
Another very important aspect to consider is safety. Proper form is crucial. Injuries result in lost time, function and ability. To help avoid injury, it’s important to start slow and easy and to get the propre guidance and training that you need.
Lastly, make sure you recognize that potential barriers that inevitably come up. This could include weather, schedule changes, transportation issues, etc. Try to have a backup plan ready for common barriers that you may face. Clothing, equipment and hydration are also important to plan ahead of time.
Tori Stewart, MS, RDN, LDN, CPT and Sieger Giroux, MS, RDN, LDN work at the Marion VA Health Care System.