Chesco On The Move
Regular movement is important for everyone’s overall wellbeing. Our bodies were not designed for excessive sitting; we were born to move! According to a recent survey by the Chester County Health Department, of nearly 4,000 residents, 60% of respondents reported physical activity as one of the top three behaviors that improve health and wellness. Despite its importance, only 24% of Pennsylvanians participate in physical activities or exercises other than their regular jobs. Our goal is to enable everyone who lives, works and learns in Chester County incorporates more movement into their daily life.
Movement does not have to mean sweat-inducing workouts, or exercise that is planned, structured, and repetitive. Rather, movement is any activity that uses your muscles and makes you feel good, relieves stress, and allows for a greater connection with your body and mind. This makes movement accessible to everyone regardless of someone's abilities or fitness level.
Regular movement reduces the risk of chronic diseases and cancer while improving our heart health, bone strength, and balance. It benefits our brain health, improves sleep, and reduces anxiety. We encourage you to find activities and places that you enjoy. If you enjoy what you are doing, it is much easier to keep moving!
For children and adults, young and old, moving more each day is possible! There are many physical health benefits from moving more. With more consistent movement, you can enjoy both short-term and long-term benefits:
- Gives you more energy and strength during the day.
- Lowers blood sugar.
- Reduced pain and improved function, particularly for people with arthritis.
- Weight management, including weight loss and improved eating patterns.
- Reduced risk for heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and common cancers like cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, kidney, lung and stomach.
- Strengthening of bones and muscles and improved balance, which reduces risk of falls.
- Healthier aging and increased longevity.
- Adults younger than age 60 could reduce their risk for a premature death just by achieving 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day, according to CDC.
- Older adults could gain the same benefit by completing just 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day.
- Increased independence and ability to support daily activities among people with disabilities.
There are recommendations for how much physical activity you should try to do based on your age and abilities. To prevent burnout and injury, start off small and work your way up to longer durations of movement each day. Everyone’s choice of movement will look different depending on health and interests. One person may love lifting weights while another prefers a YouTube dance workout. The activity you do is completely up to you. The key is to move consistently. Choose avenues of movement that are sustainable for you and your lifestyle.
Not only does movement build up your muscles, but it also builds up your brain! Frequent movement offers numerous benefits for your mental health, including:
- Positive mood boosts.
- Stress and burnout relief.
- Reduced risk for depression, anxiety, suicide and suicidal thoughts.
- Improved sleep.
- Improved memory, cognition, attention-span and focus, and reduced risk for dementia and cognitive impairment.
- Improved self-esteem and confidence.
Moving more is a great way to have some fun and feel better overall. The movement you choose to do should be fun, or you will avoid it. Have an impromptu dance party at home, go on a walk, try a new activity, or do a few household chores. It all counts as movement!
Moving more can have social benefits for you! Moving more together, whether with a friend or in a large group, ca grow social connections and sense of community. Having support from a buddy or group may help keep you motivated to continue to move more, which benefits both our bodies and minds.
By moving more, you can:
- Feel more confident and build relationships with others as you work toward shared movement goals.
- Develop your leadership skills by coordinating a group to move together.
- Build empathy by talking to others about successes and challenges in meeting movement goals.
- Increase social and community connections with people who share your interests or goals.
- Increase your energy levels which supports increasing social connections.
- Have fun with family, friends and neighbors.
Before starting any physical activity program, be sure to talk with your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for you.