Research

3 Reasons to Move More for Better Health

Spring is in the air and the days are getting longer - with more daylight hours, it's the perfect time to recreate outside! Unfortunately, we're not all taking advantage of the spring sun: a recent survey by the Physical Activity Council found that 83 million Americans were "totally sedentary" last year, the highest level of inactivity since 2007. Yikes! For our health and well-being, we need to change this and get moving! 

If you need some prodding, you're in luck, as recent research tells us that there are more reasons than ever to not be lazy during our leisure time. Here's why we're lacing up our sneakers and MOVING! 

You'll Live Longer

A recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine (the Journal of the American Medical Association) found that adults exercising during their leisure time live longer and have a reduced risk of premature death. Specifically, those who met the daily recommended level of physical activity for healthy adults (150 minutes a week, or ~12,000 moves/day) reduced their risk of death by 31%! Not meeting the activity recommendations yet? That's ok - you still have a 20% reduced risk compared to someone who is sedentary. For those super-movers out there (those moving 3-5 times the recommended level of activity), the study found no harm in extensive exercise, and a 39% reduction in risk. Long story short, move more, even just a little, for a longer life! 

A Sharp Mind

Who doesn't want to go toe-to-toe with their grandchildren in a board game? You can, simply by staying active. In older adults, higher levels of physical activity have been associated with better cognitive function - meaning that you can stay whip-smart into your 70's and 80's by making sure you're not sedentary. In a 2004 study in JAMA, older women who walked more performed better than inactive women on tests for cognition, memory, and attention. So, seniors, don't retire your walking shoes! 

Your knees will thank you!

A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that adults suffering from knee arthritis experienced less decline in function when they were less sedentary. You might expect the opposite to be true, but in fact the study showed that staying active related to better physical function.

“People control their pain by doing less physical activity. But being more active can delay the functional decline that accompanies aging. Any activity is better than being sedentary.” Dr. Jungwha Lee, a lead author of the study, told the New York Times. Sounds like all the evidence we need to move more!

The research is clear that we should keep moving - and we want to know, why are you staying active? Share your story with us on social media for a chance to win a new Movband 3!

Maintaining Motivation

Now that we’re a month into 2015, the surge of motivation you felt at the start of the new year may be waning. And with a good part of winter still ahead, you might be finding it tough to stay committed to your fitness goals.

That’s ok – in fact, according to a study by researchers at Penn State, it’s normal! Motivation levels fluctuate, and even competitive athletes like me find it hard to exercise sometimes. Luckily, we’ve got some tips for you to help maintain your motivation to move throughout the winter months!

 

Play a game

Research finds that people are more motivated to move through sports or games (such as basketball, tennis, etc) than through traditional forms of exercise like running or aerobics. So you have our permission to take a break from the treadmill (or as I fondly refer to it, the dreadmill!) and join an indoor soccer team or a softball league! If you’re moving in a way that’s fun, competitive, and enjoyable, you’re more likely to stick with it and make it a habit.

 

Team Up

It can be tough to push yourself on your own – when you’re accountable to just you, it’s easy to make up excuses and call it quits. But when our performance affects others, such as teammates in a group, we perform better and longer, according to research from Michigan State. In the study, female participants who exercised on a stationary bike with a virtual partner worked out significantly longer than those without partners. So to maintain your motivation to move, team up with an exercise buddy!

Ask your Group Admin if your group can compete against each other in a challenge with small teams. Or, set up a group of your own! Face off against a friend with our free Friends & Family Groups – simply click on the “Create a Group” link on the homepage of your Dashboard to get started (here’s a how-to) and let the competition and motivation flow!

 

Battle the boredom!

If winter weather prevents you from taking your workout outside, you may be stuck on the treadmill or stationary bike. I personally find myself bored out of my mind after a short time and my determination fades fast. Instead of enjoying my workout, I’m usually counting down the minutes til I’m done (or sometimes even cutting it short…). To make sure you stick with your exercise plan, battle gym boredom with a peppy new playlist, an audio book, or a podcast. Check out Spotify’s Workout playlists to keep you pumped up while you’re pumping iron, or tune in to Serial Podcast, guaranteed to keep you moving til the end of the episode!

 

Reward yourself

If you’ve been successful so far in maintaining your New Year’s intentions, give yourself a pat on the back and reward yourself for staying motivated! Rewards help reinforce positive behavior and can help keep you on track with your goals. Ultimately, your reward for moving more is better health, but a small extrinsic reward doesn’t hurt! So go ahead, upgrade to Spotify Premium or get that new workout top you’ve been eyeing – you’ve earned it! And if your track record in 2015 hasn’t been spot on, promise yourself a small reward in March if you stick to your February goals.

I’ve been wanting to splurge on this workout top… and to reward myself for sticking to my goals in January, I just might!

 

In your experience, what keeps you motivated when you feel like giving in? What strategies do you employ to keep yourself always moving forward? Let us know and we’ll reward you with 3 colored accessory bands of your choice!

Keep moving!
Kaitlin