May 4—In the spring, joggers, ball players, and outdoor yoga instructors are in full bloom, taking advantage of warm weather and intermittent sunshine between Oklahoma storms.

Many in Cleveland County take this time of year to pick up an outdoor hobby to get themselves in shape, prepare for beach season, and turnover a new leaf.

The Cleveland County Oklahoma State Extension Office is encouraging everybody to think about what they can do to improve their health through physical activity.

"Regular physical activity is one of the most important things that we can do for our health," said Christi Evans, Family and Consumer Sciences educator at the extension. "It can improve our mood, reduce stress, improve sleep, and help us manage our weight. It can also help us reduce our risk of many chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers."

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Oklahoma is one of the most inactive states with 30% of its residents who consider themselves inactive, faring worse than all states other than Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi.

Many reports indicate a correlation between physical activity and overall health.

"Physical activity is anything that gets the body moving and results in breathing harder and an increased heart rate," Evans said.

The CDC issues Physical Activity Guidelines, a handbook of suggestions for those wanting to improve their health through exercise, and it says that adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, which can include fast- pace walking, riding a bike or pushing a lawnmower.

"Muscle-strengthening activities should work the major muscle groups — the legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms," Evans said. "Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, heavy gardening or yoga."

Evans said the 150 minutes of activity does not need to be done all at once. She suggests that people work out for 30 minutes per day, five days a week.

"Those 30 daily minutes can be broken into smaller segments throughout the day, for instance 10 minutes each morning, noon and night," she said.

Those who want to get more exercise can do more, but Evans recommends increasing daily activity where possible, even if it is just a little.

"Keep in mind that some physical activity is better than none," she said.

As the temperatures rise, a greater number of outdoor activities will make themselves available, whether on land or in the water. Different exercises include hiking, kayaking, swimming, mountain climbing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, group sports, biking, jogging, playground workouts and more.

"Children also need physical activity, so this can be a great time for families to enjoy being physically active together," Evans said. "Youth 6 to 17 years old need at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per day to attain the most health benefits from physical activity.

"Families can get moving together by planning weekend hikes, bike rides, planting a garden, or washing the car together."

The spring months also offer more daylight hours to enjoy the outdoors.

"If you are new to activity or haven't been very active lately, it's recommended to increase your physical activity level slowly," she said. "It's also important to talk to your doctor about any health concerns before starting or increasing your physical activity, especially if you have a history of chronic disease."

Source link