Move it Monday: Start your week right

It’s Monday, a day to get things off to a good start. A day to commit — or recommit — to healthy changes.

It’s also Move it Monday, a campaign from the Monday Campaigns, a non-profit public health initiative associated with Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Syracuse universities that dedicates the first day of the week to health. Each Monday, individuals and organizations around the globe come together to commit to healthy behaviors like quitting smoking, exercise, and nutrition that help end chronic preventable diseases. Go to http://www.moveitmonday.org/for tips and resources on The Monday Campaigns web site added on Mondays.

Morgan Johnson, program development and research director with the Monday Campaigns said whether people are more inclined to engage with health on Monday because they are “making up” for bad weekend behaviors, or because they see Monday generally as a “fresh start” and a way to get the week off on the right foot, Monday is that day everyone thinks about health. From more people doing Google searches for health-related topics and smoking quit lines on Mondays than other six days of the week, the first day of the week lends itself to being a day for new beginnings. And that, she said, provides opportunities for people — and resources — to connect on Mondays.

So while Wednesdays are often a day to check-in about how the week is going, Fridays are a day to prepare for potential slips or triggers you might face over the weekend, and Sundays can be a time to reflect on the previous week and prepare for …Monday. Monday is when you set the stage for the week.

Here are some tips from Move it Monday for making your Monday get off to a great, healthy start:

Try a Monday Mile.

The CDC recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Walking a Monday Mile gets you on your way. And if you can do a mile a day by Friday, you’ve done it. It’s always more fun with a friend so grab a walking buddy. You can also start a Monday Mile group at your workplace.

Move: 5 ways to ‘deskercise’

Sitting at a desk hour after hour and day after day can take a toll on your body. Here are some simple exercises you can do to get your muscles working and blood flowing (which can also get ideas flowing.) (It’s always good to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.)

Knee-ups:

Raise your arms up in the air. Now bring them down while lifting one of your knees up- as if you’re breaking a twig over your knee. Then raise your arms and try it with the other knew. It’s great for your hip flexors and quads. And great if you have some twigs to break.

Chair Dips:

If you’re going to use a chair, make sure it’s, the non-rolling variety- otherwise, use a secure desk. Grip the chair’s edges on both sides and slide to the front edge of the chair. With your arms straight and your legs extended, dip by bending your arms. Push yourself up, then dip again. Continue until your triceps say “Uncle!”

Side Swivels:

Work your oblique’s without getting out of your chair. Start by sitting upright with your feet hovering over the floor. Holding your desk with your hands, use your core to swivel the chair from side to side. Try not to say “wheeeee!” too loudly.

Stretches:

Give your back, neck and shoulders a break from sitting, especially if you’re staring at a screen. So stand up and stretch from your fingertips to your toes. It’ll improve your flexibility and relieve stress. Best of all, stretching your body can refresh your mind.

Bag curls:

Any purse with a strap will work. Start with your arm by your thighs. Bend your elbow and curl your arm toward your chest, pause, then lower it. Try 10- 15 reps with each arm (depending on how much you keep in your purse.) Men can use a water bottle-or a purse if that’s how you roll.

Sneak in a workout

You know that time you spend circling the parking lot to find a spot close by? Instead, use that time to get some walking in. This week, park farther away from the store when you’re doing errands. At work, park at the far end of the lot. The extra ten minutes of walking a day results in more than an hour of exercise a week. And it’s probably more enjoyable than circling the lot too.

Walk Tall Monday

Walking is a wonderful exercise, especially when you pay attention to a few things. Keep your chin up- good posture helps you breathe and prevents problems with your back, neck and shoulders.

Let your arms swing naturally- it gives power to walk. If you want to walk faster don’t lengthen your stride- instead concentrate on taking shorter, quicker steps. And make sure you stay hydrated- drink water before, during, and after your walk.

More and more studies are pointing to the negative health impacts of sitting for extended periods.

The good news is, if you get up every hour and engage in at least two minutes of light activity like walking, stretching, or even doing chores, the activity may offset some of the health risks of being sedentary.

About Move It Monday:

Move It Monday is a campaign from the Monday Campaigns, a non-profit public health initiative associated with Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Syracuse universities that dedicates the first day of the week to health. Each Monday, individuals and organizations around the globe come together to commit to healthy behaviors like quitting smoking, exercise, and nutrition that help end chronic preventable diseases.

For more information and resources including toolkits, graphics and posters, visit http://www.moveitmonday.org/.

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