I recently took an online health assessment promoted by my insurance company and received a score of 86 (which was compared to my peers scoring 89). Was I surprised? Yes, more than slightly. My husband, incidentally, got a 94 on his assessment!
Upon deeper reflection, I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised since I currently don’t do any regular physical activity. Between working and taking care of a toddler, I haven’t had much time lately to invest in activities that I enjoy and that will also make me move more (like dancing, my favorite!). I think subconsciously I also thought that my daily stretches, playtime with my toddler, and moving around doing house chores to keep the house tidy would suffice. Not quite. This assessment was a good wake up call.
The health assessment reminded me that physical activity doesn’t have to be all in one 30-minute or more session a day. It can actually be broken up into 3 10-minute sessions of moderate activity to have the same health benefits. However, the lower the intensity of the physical activity, the longer a session you would need to aim for. See this helpful chart provided at the end of the assessment:
|Intensity level||Sample activities||Minutes/day|
|Low||Slow walking, light gardening, recreational volleyball||45-60|
|Moderate||Brisk walking, raking leaves, swimming, cycling||20-30|
|Vigorous||Running, lap swimming, fast cycling, snow shoveling||15-20|
Besides increasing general physical activity, the health assessment also recommended aiming for 2-3 strength training sessions (10-20 minutes each) a week. These can be as simple as a regimen of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and calisthenics. And of course, doing some simple stretching at least 2-3 times a week can maintain your flexibility, as well as reduce possible back aches and injuries from running after a toddler!
With the warmer spring/summer weather approaching, getting more physical activity should become easier. These can be activities that both you and your toddler/child enjoy (e.g., kicking a ball, going for a walk/hike, swimming). So let’s all get moving and stay active for better health!