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How exercise recommendations might actually work against us

https://www.fastcompany.com/90500811/how-exercise-recommendations-might-actually-work-against-us

fastcompany.com

How exercise recommendations might actually work against us
The 1996 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: These are considered "low and liberal" because they recommend 150+ minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week and count lighter, everyday activities such as walking or housework as exercise. The 2018 guidelines from the U.S.

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Information vs action

Information vs action

Most of us actually know that exercise is important, but this is not enough to motivate us.

The idea that we only need to educate people and give them the right information and then they will behave better or change their lifestyles is not true.

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How mindsets affect us

No matter how active we really are, we can hold the mindset that our physical activity level is adequate and healthy, or inadequate and unhealthy, and these mindsets may have real consequences for our well-being.

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How recommendations affect our behavior

Experiments conducted in America showed that low and liberal guidelines (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) led people to adopt a more positive mindset. These positive mindsets led to higher self-efficacy measures. And those with high self-efficacy were more likely to be active the week after viewing the guidelines.

These discoveries raise an important question: How useful are demanding, strict guidelines if they don’t inspire the desired outcome?

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Improving public health messaging

Public health officials should collaborate more with psychologists and modify their exercise messaging.

Improving public health messaging could help people see all the ways in which they’re already getting physical activity in their everyday lives: walking, talking the dog out, or cleaning the house, for example.

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Exercise Defined

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Decrease in Human Strength

Historic evidence suggests that for many thousands of years, human beings were more active and stronger than today. 

The early humans had increased movement and activity, like going for long and tiring hunts, walking long distances that took weeks, making the prehistoric humans fitter than the best athletes today.

Technology as the Culprit

Technological breakthroughs have reduced our activity to a great extent ( vacuum cleaners, washer-dryers, self-cleaning ovens, and even cars).

The rise of the internet gave us a whole lot of technology, curbing our need to move even more.

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Improve your diet and start moving

  • Wholefoods such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean red meat, and seafood, provide nutrients that are important for optimal brain function. 
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Reduce your vices

People with alcohol and drug problems have a greater likelihood than average of having a mental illness and have far poorer health outcomes.

Stopping smoking is an important step, as nicotine-addicted people are constantly at the mercy of a withdrawal-craving cycle, which profoundly affects mood. 

Prioritize rest and sleep

Sleep hygiene techniques aim to improve sleep quality and help treat insomnia. 

They include: adjusting caffeine use, limiting exposure to the bed (regulating your sleep time and having a limited time to sleep),  limiting exposure to the blue light from smartphones, and making sure you get up at a similar time in the morning.