Health Tips
Redefining Exercise
Jan 20, 2014 - 12:01:52 AM

( - For most of us, the word "exercise" provokes mixed emotions. We know we should do it, but it sounds like a chore. It sounds vaguely painful. It sounds time consuming, as if it might prevent you from watching another four episodes of Downton Abbey.

And yet we're all aware that regular exercise is essential to maintain a certain weight, promote strength, stave off sickness, and ensure a positive mental outlook. The CDC recommends that adults gets at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, as well as two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities.

If that figure seems intimidating, all it takes is a little creativity. At the Monday Campaigns, we believe that the key to achieving any positive health goal is by starting small, and committing to your goal every week. For example, "exercise" doesn't necessarily mean hitting the gym. In fact, for many of us, exercise is as simple as thirty minutes of brisk walking five days a week, which will put a sizeable dent in your weekly activity quota.

The benefits of walking are well established. As the American Heart Association points out, walking can improve your cholesterol; lower your blood pressure and blood sugar; lower your risk of obesity; increase energy while lowering stress; and reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer. Makes you want to buy a good pair of walking shoes, doesn't it?

It gets even simpler. We also encourage participants to commit to a "Monday Mile" every Monday, using it as an easy way to jump start the week with a healthy dose of physical activity. Try a Monday Mile yourself, and recruit friends, family, coworkers or classmates to raise the level of engagement and make it more fun for everyone.

What's more, our "Move It Monday" physical health initiative incorporates virtually any exercise that's both enjoyable and easy to incorporate into your weekly routine. From Frisbee-tossing to kite flying, from competitive sports to casual games, exercise is a great way to socialize while fulfilling your weekly goals. Best of all, exercise offers maximum customization. For some, a solitary hike outdoors will work you out and clear your mind at the same time. For others, a busy week at the office prevents visits to the gym, but opting for the stairs instead of the escalator or performing a few jumping jacks in between assignments is enough to keep you moving. For more examples, check out our Move It Monday resources online at

The most important thing is to pick an activity that's fun and physical. This Monday, start moving towards better health.


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