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California Area Office logoCalifornia Area Office

Just Move it

Image of Margo KerriganMargo Kerrigan, M.P.H., Area Director
Indian Health Service California Area Office

Just Move It is a national campaign to promote physical activity among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Using group activities and peer support, it encourages lifestyle changes by helping people start and continue being active. Just Move It is focused on community partnerships. The goal of the campaign is to get 1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives moving by working together to build and strengthen healthy communities. The number of Just Move It partnerships in California continues to grow, from twenty partners in 2005 to fifty partners in early 2008. Nationally, Just Move It has 18,168 participants representing 306 partners.

In California, Just Move It supports ongoing efforts of Tribal/Urban healthcare programs to encourage community wellness through increased physical activity. All Tribal/Urban healthcare programs are invited to participate and become Just Move It partners. Each year Just Move It - California has a "challenge" to promote increased physical activity and wellness. The Just Move It- California 2008 Challenge kicked off in March during the Annual Tribal Leaders Consultation Conference fun walk. The 2008 Challenge is a virtual walk throughout California Indian Country, covering 4,581 miles, representing over 1,145 hours of activity. The challenge will run through 2008, and is open to all Tribal/Urban Indian healthcare programs. The challenge can be incorporated into existing physical activity programs or used to start a new program. It can be done individually or as a group, with the goal to complete the 4,581 miles. Every 2,000 steps or 15 minutes of exercise, count as one mile. All tribal communities and organizations are encouraged to participate in this third Just Move It - California Challenge and to post their local stories on the Just Move It website. For information, go to www.justmoveit.org Exit Disclaimer – You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

Also in 2008, California Area Office IHS Employees are participating in a "Headquarters and Back" virtual walk. This event is being held between February and May, and is a sequel to the 2007 "Around California and Beyond" virtual walk. This three month virtual walk starts at IHS Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland and finishes in Sacramento. It is a companion to the ongoing California Area Office employee wellness program.

Why Move It?

There are many benefits from exercise; physical activity not only helps prevents disease and promotes health and well-being, but it also improves your mood and helps you deal better with stress. How much exercise should you get? The American Heart Association recommends aiming for 30 minutes or more of moderate activity per day as a good initial target, with the goal of building up to longer periods. Aerobic exercise, which includes walking, biking, or running, is an excellent way to improve overall fitness. Flexibility exercises, like yoga, and resistance exercises, such as weight lifting, are also good.

Some exercise and fitness tips:

  • Start moving. If you aren't doing much physically, then mild exercise a few times a week will cut your heart disease risk in half. Walking at a reasonable pace a few times a week can make a big difference in the health of your blood vessels. Raising your heart rate can help to lower your blood pressure and prevent hardening of your arteries, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease.
  • Keep going. Start exercising for 20 to 30 minutes, three days a week; then try to build up to 30 minutes or more nearly every day. (If you feel chest pressure, lightheadedness, or marked shortness of breath while doing these activities, see your doctor right away.)
  • Make it a habit. Exercising every day will help burn more calories, reduce stress, and promote well-being.
  • Bring along a friend. Exercising with a partner or a group can help you keep motivated and helps maintain good exercise habits.
  • Work on intensity. If you do not have health limitations, try to increase the intensity of your workouts. Walking every day at a moderate pace is good for burning calories, but research shows that adding a few short bursts (30-60 seconds at a time) of intense activity like running or even skipping will greatly improve your fitness. Try to increase the overall intensity of your workout as well. If you normally walk for exercise, try jogging, or try walking in a pool for a harder workout.

  • Try new activities. The same exercise routine can get boring after a while, so try to vary your activities to keep things interesting. If you normally walk, try swimming, dancing, or bicycling for a workout instead. Yoga, Pilates, and weight training are also excellent ways to vary your routine. This kind of "cross-training" can greatly improve your overall fitness.

For More Information:

Office of Personnel Management - Healthier Feds
http://www.healthierfeds.opm.gov/ Exit Disclaimer – You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov
HHS Disease Prevention/Health Promotion- Healthier U.S.
http://www.healthierus.gov/ Exit Disclaimer – You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov
Just Move It:
http://www.justmoveit.org Exit Disclaimer – You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov
California Area IHS Web page on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
http://www.ihs.gov/FacilitiesServices/AreaOffices/California/Universal/PageMain.cfm?p=68
 

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