Regular physical activity is important for improving your overall health and quality of life and it should be fun! We work hard to make this a priority. If you’re enjoying an activity, you’ll have no trouble making time to do it and that is going to make a difference to your health.
Why is physical activity important?
Physical activity helps you to:
- Have more energy and experience less stress
- Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Sleep more soundly
- Boost your immunity (less likely to get sick)
- Reduce headaches, heart-burn, and snoring
- Lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart-attack, stroke, and cancer
- Reduce arthritis pain, osteoporosis and back pain
- Lose fat, gain muscle, and keep extra weight off
- Strengthen your bones/joints
- Improve balance/agility
- ENJOY LIFE MORE!
Find Activities You Like To Do!
If you don’t like to run, don’t. There are many physical activities to choose from, especially here in Butte County. Butte County is home to the nation’s largest earth filled dam (Lake Oroville), two beautiful rivers (Sacramento and Feather River), multiple creeks and tributaries, Table Mountain, Bidwell Park (park encompasses over 3500 acres and is the third largest municipal park in California) and Feather Falls (the 6th tallest in the continental United States). Activities include hiking, biking, kayaking, hunting, swimming, disc golf, dirt biking, skate boarding, skiing … the possibilities are endless. This doesn’t even include all of the possibilities within each city’s organized sports leagues, recreational departments, public playgrounds, and/or private gyms.
Some Butte County recreational opportunities can be found at: 101 Things To Do in Butte County
Let's Get Moving: Fun things to do in Butte County
Experience Butte County: Outdoor Attractions
Feather River Recreation and Park District
Chico Area Recreation and Park District
Gridley Recreation Department
Paradise Recreation and Park District
What do you choose?
Think about activities you enjoyed doing as a child and try them again. Take the time to discover what types of exercises are best for your physical, emotional and social health. Try a range of different activities to keep you interested and challenge different muscles. Once you find out what you like to do, increase your activity time and intensity gradually. If you are new to physical activity, start out gently and build your endurance little by little – this way you’ll avoid overdoing it or injuring yourself.
How much physical activity do I need?
The American Heart Association recommends that to improve overall cardiovascular health, at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. What if you can’t make the time goal that day? ...Something is always better than nothing! You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.
It is also recommended that adults include at least moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days per week and flexibility exercises at least 2 or 3 days each week to improve range of motion. Please remember to never stretch a cold muscle; flexibility training should be done only after your body has been warmed up, usually after your workout.
50 Body-weight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
A Guide to Basic Stretches
American Heart Associations’ Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
American Heart Associations’ Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults Infographic (PDF)
What is the difference between moderate and vigorous intensity?
General Physical Activities Defined by Level of Intensity
How do I know if I’m working out at the right intensity?
Measuring Intensity Level
What about my children?
The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Inactive children are more likely to become inactive adults. One way to help get our children moving is to start gradually reducing their amount of screen time. "Screen time" is a term used for activities done in front of a screen, such as watching TV, working on a computer, or playing video games. Screen time is sedentary activity, meaning you are being physically inactive while sitting down. Very little energy is used during screen time.
Most American children spend about 3 hours a day watching TV. Added together, all types of screen time may often total 5 to 7 hours a day. It is recommended that children under age 2 should have no screen time and kids over age 2 should limit it to 1 to 2 hours a day.
How do I Limit Screen Time?
Cutting down screen time to 2 hours a day can be hard for some children because TV may be such a large part of their daily routines. You can help your children by teaching them how sedentary activities affect their overall health. Talk to them about things they can do to be healthier.
Here are some helpful ways to start decreasing screen time:
- Remove the TV or computer from your child's bedroom.
- Do not allow TV watching during meals or homework.
- Do not let your child eat while watching TV or using the computer.
- Do not leave the TV on for background noise. Turn on the radio instead, or have no background noise.
- Decide which programs to watch ahead of time. Turn off the TV when those programs are over.
- Suggest other activities, such as family board games, puzzles, or going for a walk.
- Keep a record of how much time is spent in front of a screen. Try to spend the same amount of time being active.
- Be a good role model as a parent. Decrease your own screen time to 2 hours a day.
- If it is hard not having the TV on, try using a sleep function so it turns off automatically.
- Challenge your family to go 1 week without watching TV or doing other screen-time activities.
- Find things to do with your time that get you, your family and friends moving.
American Heart Associations’ Recommendations for Physical Activity in Children
American Heart Associations’ Recommendations for Physical Activity in Kids infographic (PDF)