Move Your Way
Every minute of movement counts!
How much activity do you need?
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, researched and produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (anything that gets your heart beating faster) and two days of muscle-strengthening activity (anything that makes your muscles work harder than usual).
If you prefer vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (like running), aim for at least 75 minutes a week.
Tight on time? Start with just 5 minutes. It all adds up.
Move More and Feel Better
You know you need physical activity to stay healthy - but did you know it can help you feel better right away? It can improve your sleep, sharpen your focus, boost your mood, and reduce your stress.
More physical activity = better sleep! Greater volumes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity are associated with:
- reduced sleep latency (taking less time to fall asleep
- improved sleep efficiency (higher percentage of time in bed actually sleeping)
- improved sleep quality (reducing the length of time it takes to go to sleep and reducing the time one is awake after going to sleep and before rising in the morning)
- more deep sleep
- significantly less daytime sleepiness
- reduced frequency of use of sleep-aid medications
Moderate aerobic exercise has been shown to increase the amount of slow wave sleep you get. Slow wave sleep refers to deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate. Exercise can also help to stabilize your mood and decompress the mind, a cognitive process that is important for naturally transitioning to sleep.
Aerobic exercise leads directly, and immediately, to improved focus and concentration. Following a half hour of strenuous exercise, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex works harder to resist distracters and improve performance on tests of attention. Studies also show that immediately following exercise, problem solving, memory, and attention improve.
Researchers have found that regular aerobic exercise appears to increase the size of the hippocampus, which is the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.
Exercise also results in an increase in neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, which boost information processing and mood. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand.
Any form of exercise increases the brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Engaging in regular physical activity reduces depressed mood feelings. Studies show that exercise can help treat and manage mild to moderate symptoms of depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
Exercise is an effective way to reduce stress as it reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Anxiety and anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental disorders. Participating in moderate to vigorour physical activity over longer durations (weeks of months of regular physical activity) reduces symptoms of anxiety in adults. Physical activity can also immediately reduce the short feelings of anxiety.
Physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.
Make a Plan to Be More Active This Week
You CAN get more active. Making a plan helps.
Use this interactive tool to customize your weekly plan with activities you enjoy. Print your plan or even share it with others to help keep you motivated.
Share your plan!
Share your plan to a public social media account with #MoveYourWayUMD for the chance to score free RecWell swag.
Move With RecWell