The state of physical activity in our state

Hoosiers received an astonishing wakeup call when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new findings on the amount of people meeting federal government recommendations for physical activity. The guidelines specify that adults should perform “muscle-strengthening” activities at least twice a week, as well as 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” aerobic activity. According to the CDC report, overall, only about 23 percent of U.S. adults are meeting these specifications. In Indiana, an astonishing 15.1 percent of the population are getting the recommended amount of physical activity, among the lowest in the country.

We asked Shawn Richardville, fitness instructor, Parkview Health and Fitness Center, to offer his guidance on how to get started.

Why is exercise so important?

It is the most efficient way to either maintain or improve your well-being.

What are some of the biggest hurdles to regular exercise?

Motivation and time.

How can people overcome these hurdles?

Schedule the days/times at the beginning of every week when exercise sessions are going to happen. You will never find time, you need to make time. Waking up Monday morning and trying to decide if that is going to be an exercise day is a big pitfall. Pre-scheduling exercise sessions can help avoid this conflict.

Sign up for events/activities that may require some training. A 5K walk/run is a great example. Attend a health fair and take advantage of free screenings. Then try to get better results at future health fairs. This can be a great motivator to become more active.

What is your best advice for making exercise a habit?

In addition to scheduling your exercise sessions, don’t look at becoming more active as temporary. An aging sedentary body is in a slow decline of adding fat and losing muscle. You need to start moving to at least maintain your current level of health, if not improve it. Once you see and feel the benefits, hopefully it opens your eyes to the fact that being more active is crucial to maintain and improving your quality of life.

What would you tell someone who is intimidated by exercise?

Talk with a wellness coach or a personal trainer before starting. Wrapping your mind around how to go about exercising correctly is the best first step. Becoming more active physically is the easy part, but it’s the mental part of knowing the frequency, intensity, time and type that gives you the backbones of a good exercise plan.

What is the best way to get started?

Start easy. You need to adjust not only physically, but mentally as well. Begin by scheduling three sessions per week to start, and then share those days/times with your family so that they can not only encourage you, but maybe more importantly, avoid distracting you during those times.

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