There is a song that goes by the title, “I Like to Move It, Move It.”
And today, it’s perfect for what we’re talking about.
Because new federal guidelines for exercise tell us what we already know: We have to move it. And we need to get keiki moving it, too.
By move it, I don’t just mean running, my preferred mode of travel and working out. I mean walking, jumping, skipping, hopping, cycling, rowing, swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, golfing, bowling. Anything, really. You get the idea. Move more. Sit less. Get up, walk around, wave your arms, do some pushups. This is all good for you because it gets the heart pumping, the blood flowing, the muscles working, the brain engaged.
According to advice released Monday at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, any amount and any type of exercise helps health.
That’s why, throughout the day at work, I get up, lift some light weights, juggle, and make use of a resistance band. It’s why I park at the spot farthest away from the front door of the store. It’s why if we can walk somewhere versus driving, we walk.
You can’t move around the wrong way. The idea is simply, to move. Often.
The advice is the first update since the government’s physical activity guidelines came out a decade ago. Since then, the list of benefits of exercise has grown, and there’s more evidence to back things that were of unknown value before, such as short, high-intense workouts and taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
“Doing something is better than doing nothing, and doing more is better than doing something,” said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, a preventive medicine expert at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Only 20 percent of Americans get enough exercise now, and the childhood obesity problem has prompted the push to aim younger to prevent poor health later in life, the Associated Press said.
Here on Kauai, we have some people dedicated to health and wellness. Bev Brody leads the charge at Get Fit Kauai that is involved in multiple ways of encouraging exercise around the island. Jeff Sacchini is the owner of the Kauai Marathon, which is a strong advocate of youth fitness, promotes it in schools and offers the Keiki Run each year. And you have people like Jacob “Smilie” Punzal,” owner of Au‘rai Fitness in Lihue and brother Joel Punzal of Punzal Vision, who are all about staying in shape themselves and helping others do the same.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. is out there setting the example. The former football player ran the Kauai half marathon and was driving force behind the popular Mayor-a-Thon that promotes exercise and diet and impacted thousands of keiki and kupuna.
And our mayor-elect, Derek Kawakami, is a runner, surfer, waterman who believes in fitness.
Simply put, we will do better when we feel better. And part of feeling better is exercising and eating well. It’s not rocket science.
Some key points to take away from the AP story:
Children and Teens
The biggest change: Start young. Guidelines used to begin at age 6, but the new ones say preschoolers ages 3 through 5 should be encouraged to take part in active play throughout the day. They don’t call for a certain amount but say a reasonable target may be three hours of various intensities. That’s consistent with guidelines in many other countries and is the average amount of activity observed in kids this age.
From ages 6 through 17, at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous activity throughout the day is recommended. Most of it should be aerobic, the kind that gets the heart rate up such as brisk walking, biking or running. At least three times a week, exercise should be vigorous and include muscle- and bone-strengthening activities like climbing on playground equipment or playing sports.
Duration stays the same — at least 2½ to 5 hours of moderate-intensity or 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours of vigorous activity a week, plus at least two days that include muscle-strengthening exercise like pushups or lifting weights.
One key change: It used to be thought that aerobic activity had to be done for at least 10 minutes. Now even short times are known to help. Even a single episode of activity gives short-term benefits such as lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and improving sleep.
Sitting a lot is especially harmful.
The advice is similar for older adults, but activities should include things that promote balance to help avoid falls.
Brought to you by the letter E
Targeting young children is the goal of a project that Dr. Valentin Fuster, a cardiologist at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, has worked on for years with the Heart Association and Sesame Workshop, producers of television’s “Sesame Street.”
At the heart conference, he gave results of an intensive four-month program to improve knowledge and attitudes about exercise and health among 562 kids ages 3 to 5 in Head Start preschools in Harlem.
“It was really successful,” Fuster said. “Once they understand how the body works, they begin to understand physical activity” and its importance.
When brains are young, “it’s the best opportunity” to set health habits that last, he said.
Bev Brody, director at Get Fit, was thrilled with the new report that says move more, sit less.
“I love that battle cry,” she said. “It’s what we have been preaching for years and years.”
Sometimes the messages about wellness and exercise can be too complicated, too structured and people aren’t sure what to do, so they don’t do anything. They think i
This latest report, Brody said, “has made it very simple.”
“Get off your butt,” she said “Sitting is the new smoking. So just get up. Really, look for opportunities to move.”
That could be rising from your chair each hour at work. Just stand there for a minute.
“You don’t have to go for a walk,” Brody said.
Moving more, she added, is “a step in the right direction.”