Moving more

Whether it’s lacing up some skates, hitting the treadmill, or simply shoveling after a snow fall, more and more research is showing just how important it is to add physical activity into our lives. As it turns out, sitting too much can be almost as bad for you as smoking.

Adding some exercise to your weekly routine is a great way to improve your overall health. Experts recommend incorporating 2.5 hours or more of activity every week, or about 20 minutes per day. In fact, moving more and sitting less reduces your risk for cancer, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and obesity. It can even help with recovering from injury and illness, along with reducing stress, improving your mental health, boosting your self-confidence, and enhancing your intimate relationships.

The key is finding ways to get your body moving. From doing a few squats while you’re on a break at work, to taking a winter walk with your friends at the park, to doing vigorous outdoor or house work, any movement or activity that increases your breathing and heart rate counts.

Even if you’re meeting the recommended amount of weekly activity, it’s still important to limit sitting (sedentary) time to 8 hours per day or less with frequent breaks, as excessive sitting increases your risk for cancer and other diseases. That means getting up, moving around and having fun.

If you think you could be more active, you’re not alone. 57% of Manitobans believe they aren’t doing enough or could be doing more when it comes to being active (Doctors Manitoba 2023 survey).

It can be tougher in winter, but there are still plenty of options. Below you will find suggestions from doctors about simple steps you can take. During these cold months, try moving more with friends or family, bundle up with weather-appropriate outerwear, and be careful with icy conditions that can lead to slips and falls.

Here’s a few ideas to get you moving.

  • Start small. Add some extra steps by taking the stairs, parking a little further away, or getting off the bus one stop early. In the cold, try a winter walk in the park or a stroll in a shopping mall. Working up to 10-minute periods of being active is a good way to start.

  • Remember that being active includes exercise, such as walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, skating, or playing sports, as well as other types of activities like walking the dog, cleaning, and shoveling snow. Children are naturally active when they are playing outside with other children.

  • Take the kids tobogganing, or build a snowman or snow maze.
  • Try taking​“microbreaks” from sitting. Stand or walk around while talking on the phone.

  • Embrace winter activities. There are more and more options for skating or cross-country skiing. Skating and snowshoeing are great options.
  • Include muscle and bone strengthening exercises in your weekly routine.

  • Try enjoying the outdoors more often. Being in nature is also connected with mental and physical well-being.
  • Don’t forget to have fun. Pick something you love, and it’ll be a lot easier to keep doing it.

  • Focus on progress, not perfection. Be proud of what you’re able to do. Mark your activity on a calendar and celebrate the days you get moving!”

When to Call a Doctor

Sometimes it is important to see a doctor before making changes in your activity level and exercise routines. Some of the reasons include:

  • You have any symptoms (chest pain, joint pain, shortness of breath) that limit your ability to gradually increase your activity level

  • You aren’t comfortable being more active because you worry about falling or are falling at your current activity level

  • You take over-the-counter pain medications or muscle-relaxants because of muscle and joint pain

Learn More

You can learn more and get additional tips from these sites:

Manitoba has lots of ways to get moving! 

Check out Travel Manitoba for ideas on how to get moving and enjoy all our province has to offer. Their 2024 Inspiration Guide is a great place to start. 

Keep exploring ways to improve your health.

Getting better sleep
Keys to super slumbertastic nights.
Learn More
Eating healthy
Tips for delicious nourishing nourishment.
Learn More
Reducing stress
Revitalizing acts of rejuvenating splendor.
Learn More
Catch up on screenings
Regularific routines of prevention.
Learn More
Catch up on immunizations
Keeping up-to-date on your inner awesomeness.
Learn More