Kentuckians have a lot to be proud of: beautiful bluegrass, the world’s best horse racing, and, of course, some of the best basketball action in the nation. However, there is no pride in the many chronic health problems countless Kentuckians face each day.
Kentucky has a high incidence of diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancers, and obesity. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported Kentucky to be the least active state in the nation. Physical inactivity increases risks associated with obesity as well as several other health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and depression.
Kentuckians can begin to change these statistics by doing one simple thing: “Get Moving Kentucky!”
The Health Education through Extension Leadership’s (HEEL) Get Moving Kentucky! Physical Activity Awareness Campaign uses Cooperative Extension Service agents in every county to promote physical activity. Get Moving Kentucky! is an eight-week activity program for teams of four people (one captain plus three team members) or individuals.
“People of all ages can benefit from physical activity,” says Linda Jouridine, Ed.D., HEEL program director, UK College of Agriculture and UK School of Public Health.
The good news is you do not need special skills or training to be active. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends adding a moderate amount of physical activity five or more times a week to your daily routine. For example, gardening, raking leaves, pushing a stroller, walking, or waxing your car can all provide moderate amounts of physical activity if you keep your body in motion for an extended period of time. Burning an additional 150 calories each day is equal to weight loss of about 10 pounds per year.
“Physical activity does not have to be difficult or take up much of your day to improve your health. Even a 10-minute walk a day will put you on the path to better health,” Jouridine says.
Increasing your physical activity can increase the amount of money in your wallet, about $500 extra a year with regular physical activity. For every dollar you invest in physical activity time and equipment, you save about $3 in long-term medical care, and lifetime medical costs are generally less for more active people.
Physical activity also reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety and helps satisfy social needs, such as spending time with family and friends.
These are good reasons to get moving.
If you miss a day or even a week, do not get discouraged. Starting a physical activity habit is not easy, and most people need a little help. If you are interested in increasing your physical activity and need extra support to get started, call your county Extension agent and ask about Get Moving Kentucky!
10 WAYS TO GET MOVING TODAY
1. Go for a walk after dinner.
2. Park farther away.
3. Return your grocery cart all the way to the store.
4. Make several trips to unload instead of carrying one big load.
5. Play actively with children and pets.
6. Walk around while you talk on the phone.
7. Don’t go through the drive-through; walk in and stand in line.
8. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
9. Walk to a bathroom or water fountain on another floor.
10. Look for ways to get more exercise. Opportunities are everywhere.
To begin tracking your physical activity and to learn more about Get Moving Kentucky!, visit https://wellsuite.com/getmovingkentucky/hat/. For more information about HEEL, visit www.ca.uky.edu/heel or call (859) 257-2968.