Reprinted with permission from AHF partner – State of Alaska,
Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
We often hear the recommendations for physical activity: Adults, aim for at least 150 minutes of activity a week. Kids, get out and play 60 minutes every day.
Those are great goals to aim for because they give you the best chances for the best health. But the benefits of physical activity kick in even after short active breaks.
Daily activity can help you feel better right away, cutting stress and improving sleep. A recent study showed that adding just 10 minutes of daily activity to your day — no matter where you’re starting — can increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life. If American adults added those 10 active minutes each day, they could prevent an estimated 110,000 deaths per year across the country.
Start with 10 minutes today
That’s the main message shared in Alaska’s Fresh Start video: 10 minutes a day adds up to so much more. Alaska’s new Fresh Start campaign at freshstart.alaska.gov offers free programs for better health that support increasing daily activity to help lose weight or maintain a healthy weight; lower blood sugar; lower blood pressure; and stop smoking, chewing tobacco, or vaping. Since Fresh Start launched in late December 2022, hundreds of Alaskans have filled out enrollment forms to join one of these flexible health programs that offer free bathroom scales and blood pressure cuffs, match you with a coach and other health specialists, and provide long-term support to meet health goals.
There are many ways to add short amounts of activity to your day and any amount counts, says the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Choose the activity you enjoy: a 10-minute walk after lunch, a quick game of basketball with your kids, lifting weights during TV commercials, climbing stairs, or something else. Chores count, too, like shoveling the driveway or cleaning the house.
Bruce of Anchorage wanted to lose weight and have more energy to play with his kids. He knew moving more during the day would help. Now he heads outside instead of sitting in his office during lunch.
“I take my lunch hour and walk. I get a black coffee and enjoy the cold weather,” Bruce said.
10 minutes to feel better now and later
Bruce talked about his goal of losing weight in a short video that shares Alaska’s Fresh Start free programs for better health, found at freshstart.alaska.gov. Being active and improving what he eats and drinks has helped Bruce lose weight.
The national physical activity guidelines state that being active can lead to immediate benefits:
- Sleep better
- Feel less stressed
- Lower your blood pressure
Over time, that activity results in even more benefits.
- Help you lose weight or stay at a healthy weight
- Lower your chances for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and many types of cancer
- Prevent developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease
- Lower chances of depression and reduce symptoms of anxiety
- Help prevent falling and injuries from falls
- Reduce pain and improve your quality of life
- Improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life
Add short active breaks to the day
Allen of North Pole joined one of Alaska’s free Fresh Start programs to lose weight and lower his blood sugar. He lost almost 60 pounds with the phone-based program. Now 76, Allen started wearing a tracker on his wrist to count his daily steps. His goal is to walk thousands of steps each day, but he doesn’t walk them all at once. He adds up steps throughout the day. He uses trekking poles to walk short routes around his neighborhood.
“I’ll eat my breakfast, and I’ll go for a walk,” Allen said. “I’ll eat my lunch. I’ll go for a walk.”
Allen has dumbbells in his living room that he can grab and do sets of squats. He’ll get up and walk in his living room during TV commercials. When shopping, he parks in the back of the lot and walks around it before going into the store.
“You can get in all kinds of miles and steps without even worrying about it, because you just change your way of doing things,” Allen said.
Looking for support to add activity to your day? Visit Alaska’s Fresh Start website to find a free program that supports activity to lose weight, prevent or manage diabetes, and lower blood pressure.
Ready for change? Visit freshstart.alaska.gov to find free programs for better health.
Thousands of Alaskans have joined. Are you ready? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the campaign and to request materials.
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