April eNewsletter: Blue Zones

Act Naturally

The world’s longest-lived people don’t run marathons or join gyms. They live in environments that constantly encourage natural movement throughout the day. “Move Naturally” is one of the Blue Zones Power 9 principles for longevity, practiced by those who have lived the longest throughout the world. These longevity superstars walk everywhere; they work in their yards; they even chop wood.

Initiating a daily or weekly walking routine is a great way to add natural movement to your own life. And walking paths around Texas Health campuses, Virgin Pulse challenges, and other Be Healthy programs make it even easier. But if you can’t find the time to walk on a regular basis, or if walking just isn’t your thing, there are other ways to step it up – naturally!

  • Park farther away. The next time you head out to the store, to eat, or run an errand, park at the back of the lot. You’ll get in more steps and possibly avoid some door dings, as well.
  • Skip the valet. Is there street parking or a parking lot near your favorite restaurant or show? Park your own car and save some money in the process.
  • Play with your kids. Shoot some hoops with your budding Michael Jordan. Go for a bike ride. Unearth your roller-skating skills at the local roller rink. Even bowling can provide natural movement. Not only will you be supporting your own well-being, but you’ll also be serving as a role model to your child. Children who regularly see their parents enjoying sports and physical activity are more likely to do so themselves.
  • Inconvenience yourself. The next time you enter a building, skip the elevator or escalator and take the stairs instead. Over time, those small steps can make a big difference – and become a healthy habit.
  • Plant a garden. Spring is the perfect time to get out there and dig, plant, mulch, and mow. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get going by growing!
  • Get a dog. Research shows most dog owners get over five hours of exercise of a week without much added effort. They also have fewer health problems compared to non-dog owners. And don’t forget the Pet Insurance benefit offered by Texas Health!
  • Clean house. Household tasks like vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing the tub can make your house and your health sparkle. Yes, they’re dirty jobs, but knowing that you’re burning calories along the way can make those chores a bit more palatable.

No matter how you do it, remember that being active is always more fun when you have company. So whether you walk with a group of friends on a regular basis or simply encourage others to you join in the garden on occasion, you’re building social connections while taking steps to improve your health.