Welcome to spring when days are longer, the weather not quite so wet, and the great outdoors burst with life. April is National Move More Month, a great time to consider your fitness. Whether you putter in the garden, walk around the block, or hike over mountains, a more active routine will build strength and stamina after less-active winter months.

Physical activity is essential for long-term health, but modern urban living often involves sitting in traffic or at a desk. In 2020, the Korean Journal of Family Medicine reported that one-third of the global population over the age of 15 has insufficient physical activity, with Americans inactive almost 8 hours a day.

Made to Move

The human body evolved to move, and our digestive, respiratory, and cardiac systems rely on activity to function properly. Just as exercise increases heart rate and blood flow, activity energizes our nervous system, insulin sensitivity, and vascular function. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that regular activity can prevent or manage chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and several cancers.

Activity refers to all movement, not simply hitting the gym or going for a run or bike ride. The goal is more movement every day. This includes walking and cycling, but also active jobs, chores around the home, and hobbies like sports, dancing, and gardening. The WHO has developed an action plan for a more active world that includes evidence-based standards for activity, sports opportunities for people of all skill levels, and the integration of activity into the primary care conversation.

A lifestyle of movement

Kinwell has always considered fitness a key aspect of patient health along with diet, sleep, and mental well-being. The major conditions that lead to expensive medications and hospitalizations are best prevented through healthy lifestyle choices. Here are a few suggestions from the National Institute of Health on how you can choose to be more active through your day:

  • Walk instead of drive, whenever you can.
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
  • Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV.
  • Get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Walk up hills instead of around them.
  • Garden or make home repairs.
  • Wash the car by hand.
  • Do sit-ups in front of the TV.
  • Avoid labor-saving devices, such as a remote control or electric mixer.

The American Heart Association has additional suggestions on how to keep active during the day, including short workouts and ways to move at the office.

Discuss any fitness concerns you have with your Kinwell team. Your primary clinician might recommend a consult with a behavioral health specialist or health coach. Set up an appointment at Kinwell through your MyChart account or by calling 833-411-5469. If you’re new to Kinwell, make your first appointment at KinwellHealth.com.