Small Change: Walk or run for 40 minutes for 3 days + 1 cross-training activity on 1 day this week

Topic Progress:

We’ve upped the activity by 10 minutes.  Have you tried a 10 minute activity yet?  If you’ve been carving out 30 minutes of continuous activity to meet the weekly goal in weeks 6 and 7, you may consider trying a 10 minute movement break as part of your activity plan this week. Why?  When you find 10 minute activities you enjoy, you have more options for meeting the activity goal.  This is especially helpful during busy days when it is difficult to do a longer stretch of activity.   Plus, physical activity is a great stress reliever and a 10 minute chunk can more easily fit in at work, a big source of stress for many of us.

According to the APA’s Stress in America survey, half of Americans surveyed use physical activity to cope with stress. This is a great idea!  Plus, you may experience greater stress reduction when you take that activity outdoors and into an area park or walking trail in a wooded area. An article by Welldoing highlighted several studies that connected green spaces with a stress buffering effect. In several of the studies they looked at the level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and found that time in nature lowered the levels of cortisol.  This is good news because when cortisol is left in your system too long, it can lower your body’s ability to fight infections.

We are well into March and temperatures will continue to climb as we leave winter behind.  It’s a great time to take your activity outside.  A brisk morning walk can be a great way to start your day with some movement. Try a midday walk to take in the fresh air and decompress from some of the stress at work.  If you prefer running, take your afternoon jog from the treadmill to an outdoor trail and notice the nature around you.