By Robin Parker, Healthy For Good Content Manager, American Heart Association
We know how challenging it can be to stay committed to healthy living goals.
To help people create lasting change in their health and wellbeing, the American Heart Association has launched Healthy For Good™, a revolutionary new movement built on four core ideas: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well.
It’s a mantra, really. Simple words to live by, every day, to be your best you.
It’s simple, but it’s powerful. Built on the 90+ years of knowledge cultivated by the American Heart Association, this is science-based information translated into you-based motivation. Our mission is clear: to improve lives. We believe all people deserve the opportunity, the knowledge and the tools to choose to be healthy. We’re focusing on simple tips, tools and hacks for healthier living that everyday folks can actually use.
These resources are aimed at consumers, but can easily be used by health professionals to help patients and clients take control of their health through simple steps. We know people don’t want to be lectured to; they want to get – and stay – Healthy For Good.
The science is clear. Being physically active on a regular basis can help us maintain health and wellbeing, avoid illness and disease, and live longer. But changing behavior patterns and sustaining new healthy habits doesn’t come easily to most people. Your patients and clients may need reminders about how to get motivated, why walking counts, or how to make it feel less like a chore. They may need more opportunities to get active at work, school or where they worship.
Move More, one of the four pillars of Healthy For Good, shows people easy ways to be more physically active every day, on their terms, in ways that align with their interests, needs, and preferences. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work here, because we know many factors can influence the success of a workout plan. Share these tips with your patients and clients to help them create a physical activity plan they are more likely to stick with:
Make it yours: Lean into your own personality to get into the groove. Your favorite music, your ideal time of day, and activities you actually enjoy are more likely to keep you motivated.
Be comfortable: Make sure you have the right gear for each activity for added comfort and support. That may mean a new sports bra, moisture-wicking shirt, or shoe inserts.
Break it up: It’s OK to break up your total physical activity goal into shorter sessions. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week. A few 10-minute bursts throughout the day can get you there without feeling overwhelming.
Build it in: Create space in the natural flow of your life to add activity so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Sneak it into quality time with family and activities you’re already doing.
Give it time: It can take a while for a behavior to become a habit. Try to be active around the same time each day – even if you don’t go all out every time – to help the routine stick.
Keep going: If you miss a day or a workout, don’t worry too much about it. Skip the guilt and focus on what you will do tomorrow!
That’s just one example of how we present simple, shareable, science-based tips and tools in easily-digested bites that make it easier for people to think about 150 minutes of exercise a week in a new way. They may start by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking part of the way to work or school, or taking yoga breaks while watching TV.
Being healthy is bigger than any one decision we can make. It’s a domino effect that starts with that one healthy choice, which leads to another, and another, and so on.
A sedentary office worker may discover she feels less stressed when hiking in nature. A millennial may realize a deeper sense of connection with others by taking a break from video games and engaging in real-life sports fitness. A community-minded individual may realize the benefit of being physically active for a good cause by participating in events like the Heart Walk.
Step by step, behaviors will change. Habits will change. Lives will change.
Join the movement that’s building awareness, fostering deeper engagement, and inspiring lasting behavior change, with the overall goal of building a culture of health for future generations.
Spread the word! Share this post with your network using this sample tweet: Want to #MoveMore? New BAYW blog by @AHALiveHealthy on how #PhysicalActivity can help you be #HealthyForGood! http://bit.ly/2gdznKh