Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Can Standing an Hour a Day Keep the Doctor Away

            Americans need to get out and get active. That’s a fact, and it is also something that we hear all the time. Life gets busy, that’s part of being an adult, right? Standing for just 3 hours a day, 5 days a week burns 8 pounds of fat per year. When you think about it, that is a wild statistic considering how easy it is to just stand. Problem solved, right? Think again.
            There are quite a majority of occupations that require a desk to perform daily tasks. What do you usually do at a desk? Sit. That is the obvious answer to this seemingly absurd question. With health and wellness booming and technology more advanced than ever, shouldn’t there be a solution to this? A magic pill or shake that can increase longevity and end the constant battle fought with the scale?
            At the Cullman City Parks and Recreation offices we have found a solution, standing desks. At the push of a button we can stand or sit as we please. This is a very neat concept that can be implemented in many office settings. Through our personal experience it has made our employees more productive, and helped those who are kinesthetic learners (individuals who carry out physical activities while learning or performing a task, rather than sitting and listening to demonstrations).
            So what are the benefits? Sitting more than 11 hours a day increases risk of dying prematurely by 40%, whoa. So you don’t sit for 11 hours a day, you are exempt from this statistic? Think again. Just sitting for 8 hours a day increases your chances of premature death by 15%, and 5.3 million deaths occur every year due to inactivity and sedentary lifestyles. Sitting is one of those small daily activities that we perform without even thinking about it. Just by changing up your routine and standing your heart beats 10 times more a minute and over the course of a years that will burn approximately 30,000+ calories, which is the equivalent of running 10 marathons. Unless marathons are a cake walk for you, that’s a pretty impressive!
            If you work in a setting where stand-up desks cannot be implemented, just make small adjustments in your day. Incorporate walking in or around your workplace on breaks, encourage walking meetings when appropriate, or set aside time in your lunch break to go to the gym. The possibilities are endless. Start a conversation with your boss and coworkers about ways to increase physical activity and well-being of employees. Chances are that increased physical activity and well-being will increase productivity and performance, therefore creating a more successful business.

*all statistics and information provided by BBC News and the American College of Sports Medicine

Kayti Persall
Community Wellness Coordinator
Cullman City Parks & Recreation

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Simple Steps To Achieve Your Fitness Goals

Wintertime in Alabama is mild for the most part, but the chill can be just enough to keep some individuals inside. As many are waiting for the warmth of spring to knock the chill out of the wind, that is when a large population in the community will find the motivation to get out and get active. CP&R have many indoor and outdoor parks and facilities, where you can accomplish the personal goals that you set for yourself. But where should you start?

Setting a goal is a simple act, but achieving them can be a different story. Take it day by day. Starting small and gradually increasing activity and level of difficulty will lead you on the path of personal victory. If you start out with ridiculously high expectations, you will be more easily discouraged and usually this frustration will lead to stopping before achieving your goals. So what should you do? No matter if your goal is to run one mile without stopping or train for a marathon, you will still go through the same process of goal setting.

Step One: Set a goal. Yes, this is where we all begin. Until you take action, a goal is just a wish. Make being active a daily priority. Keep athletic clothing and shoes with you everywhere you go. When you take the time to plan ahead and be prepared, there will be no excuses when you have free time in your schedule. Walk with a friend and use each other to stay motivated! Take group classes at the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center. Typically, when you get into a routine and go to the same classes at the same times, you will see the same people. Forming friendships with these people will help to hold you accountable to your goals and keep you on the path to victory.

Step Two: Take time to be active. Unexpected events happen all the time, so take those opportunities to be active. Think creatively about how you can add physical activity to a typical work day. Use your surroundings to your advantage; walk during breaks, take the stairs, and try to get up and move around if you have a job that requires sitting at a desk.

Step Three: Build a routine. Make physical activity a priority by putting it on your calendar or daily to-do list! Set personal goals to increase your steps, track your progress, and stick with it! Keep a journal of your physical activity or purchase a fitness tracker so you can more easily achieve your daily and weekly goals.

Step Four: Increase time. Once you fall into a routine, gradually increase intensity and time dedicated to physical activity. If you do the same thing over and over, your body will become used to the routine and you will stop seeing and feeling the results. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, and don’t be afraid to step out of your box and try something new! Get out, get active, and be part of building a stronger, healthier community!

Kayti Persall 
Community Wellness Coordinator 

Cullman City Parks & Recreation