Remember, all types of movement (swimming, biking, playing tennis, chasing your children) count as exercise. The biggest takeaway from a mental health point of view is to increase your heart rate, which in turn increases cerebral blood flow. This increase in blood flow, particularly via aerobic exercise, has been tied to significant reductions in mental health disorders, particularly stress, anxiety and depression.
In June, we will begin a fitness challenge, still utilizing our "MoveSpring" mobile app, as well as getting us outdoors and together, thus combining three components – exercise, nature and relationships – that fit together to support mental health.
We will continue to introduce challenges via the MoveSpring app, preparing us to get together for an employee series of summer run/walk events. Anyone interested can continue working toward increasing their mileage and steps. More information to come on this in coming weeks.
Consider how to best utilize your steps as you work toward a longer distance (5K = 3.1 miles):
Add different types of intervals because our bodies tend to adapt to new exercises and movements. Mixing up your walk/jog routine will help to continually challenge your body and increase your level of fitness.
Jogging or power walking up hills for 20 to 30 seconds at a time, followed by a recovery period with a slower pace or reduced incline. Try to incorporate some hills once per week.
If you are a walker, consider jogging across all driveways as you pass them (or if you are a jogger, try increasing your speed to a fast run or sprint across driveways). You may choose any landmark.
To entice yourself to get moving and keep moving, try only allowing yourself to listen to your favorite audiobook or music playlist while you are working out or getting in steps.