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  • What is Moderate and Vigorous Activity? What is Moderate and Vigorous Activity? 02/15/2016 American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week &nd...

    400American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week – or a combination of the two for adults.

    But what exactly do moderate and vigorous exercise mean and how do you know if you’re working out at the right intensity?

    There are a couple different ways to measure the level of intensity at which you are exercising and that level is based on your individual fitness level and overall health.

    The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

    As defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this is a way of measuring physical activity intensity level. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel like your body is working. The RPE is based on the physical sensations you experience during physical activity, including:

    • increased heart rate,
    • increased respiration or breathing rate,
    • increased sweating, and
    • muscle fatigue.

    A high correlation exists between a person’s perceived exertion rating times 10 and the actual heart rate during physical activity; so a person’s exertion rating may provide a fairly good estimate of the actual heart rate during activity (Borg, 1998). For example, if a person’s rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is 12, then 12 x 10 = 120; so the heart rate should be approximately 120 beats per minute.

    Note that this calculation is only an approximation of heart rate, and the actual heart rate can vary quite a bit depending on age and physical condition. The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion is also the preferred method to assess intensity among those individuals who take medications that affect heart rate or pulse.

    Self-Monitoring

    During your workout, use the RPE Scale to assign numbers to how you feel. Self-monitoring how hard your body is working can help you adjust the intensity of the activity by speeding up or slowing down your movements.

    Through experience of monitoring how your body feels, it will become easier to know when to adjust your intensity.

    • Moderate-intensity physical activity is defined as – physical activity done on a scale relative to an individual’s personal capacity, moderate-intensity physical activity is usually 11-14 on a scale of 1 to 20.
    • Vigorous-intensity physical activity is defined as – physical activity done on a scale relative to an individual’s personal capacity, vigorous-intensity physical activity is usually 17-19 on a scale of 1 to 20.

    Examples of Moderate Intensity:

    • Walking briskly (3 miles per hour or faster, but not race-walking)
    • Water aerobics
    • Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
    • Tennis (doubles)
    • Ballroom dancing
    • General gardening

    Examples of Vigorous Intensity:

    • Race walking, jogging, or running
    • Swimming laps
    • Tennis (singles)
    • Aerobic dancing
    • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
    • Jumping rope
    • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
    • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

    Read more about moderate and vigorous activity on the American Heart Association’s website.

  • Trail Review: Harbison State Forest Trail Review: Harbison State Forest 02/10/2016 Harbison State Forest Trail: Firebreak Trail Length: 4.3 miles Level: Easy – Moderate Harbison State Forest is loca...

    The trail in Harbison State Forest

    Harbison State Forest

    Trail: Firebreak Trail

    Length: 4.3 miles

    Level: Easy – Moderate

    Harbison State Forest is located about 25 minutes northwest of downtown Columbia, and offers several hiking and mountain biking trails. (Use the map to find it!) The Firebreak Trail can be walked for a relaxing stroll through nature, or run for a good cardio workout! This easy-moderate trail starts right at the parking lot and brings you on a loop through the southern half of the park. It’s mostly flat, and features a gradual hill and a muddy dip in elevation around the half way point. I wouldn’t walk this trail in your favorite sneakers; the mud was hard to avoid in some places. At 2-2.5 miles in, there is a small stream that needs to be crossed with the help of some well-placed rocks. It took us about an hour to walk the whole trail at a moderate pace. It’s always smart to bring water and a friend to walk with when going into the woods, especially when trying a trail for the first time. The trail was marked well and the park wasn’t crowded, but we encountered other hikers or mountain bikers about every 15 minutes. This park is pet friendly, but dogs must be kept on leashes. I would definitely recommend this trail to a friend! 

    HarbisonTrails

  • How do you get your heart rate on target? How do you get your heart rate on target? 01/26/2016 When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? There’s a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you h...

    AdobeStock_97024202_500When you work out, are you doing too much or not enough? There’s a simple way to know: Your target heart rate helps you hit the bull’s eye. “We don’t want people to over-exercise, and the other extreme is not getting enough exercise,” says Gerald Fletcher, M.D., a cardiologist and professor in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Fla.

    First Things First

    Before you learn how to calculate and monitor your target training heart rate, you have to know your resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute while it’s at rest. You can check it in the morning after you’ve had a good night’s sleep and before you get out of bed.

    According to the National Institute of Health, the average resting heart rate:

    • for children 10 years and older, and adults (including seniors) is 60 – 100 beats per minute
    • for well-trained athletes is 40 – 60 beats per minute.

    Hittin’ the Target

    Now you’re ready to determine your target training heart rate. As you exercise, periodically:

    • Take your pulse on the inside of your wrist, on the thumb side.
    • Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) to press lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist.
    • Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute. You want to stay between 50 percent to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This range is your target heart rate.

    Know Your Numbers

    This table shows estimated target heart rates for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.

    In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rate. Heart rate during moderately intense activities is about 50-69% of your maximum heart rate, whereas heart rate during hard physical activity is about 70% to less than 90% of the maximum heart rate.

    The figures are averages, so use them as general guidelines.

    AHA_HeartRates

    Important Note: A few high blood pressure medications lower the maximum heart rate and thus the target zone rate. If you’re taking such medicine, call your physician to find out if you need to use a lower target heart rate.

    So what’s in a number?

    If your heart rate is too high, you’re straining. So slow down. If it’s too low, and the intensity feels “light” or “moderate/brisk,” you may want to push yourself to exercise a little harder.

    During the first few weeks of working out, aim for the lower ranger of your target zone (50 percent) and gradually build up to the higher range (85 percent). After six months or more, you may be able to exercise comfortably at up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

    “It’s not an absolute, but it’s a good tool to have,” says Fletcher, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “And if you don’t know it, remember, if you’re not able to carry on a conversation (while exercising), that may be a bit too much.”

    If you have a heart condition or you’re in cardiac rehab, talk to a healthcare professional about what exercises you can engage in, what your target heart rate should be and whether you need to be monitored during physical activity. This will also help you to choose the types of physical activity that are appropriate for your current fitness level and health goals, because some activities are safer than others.

    Learn more at www.heart.org.

  • Old Man Winter Can't Keep Us from Being Active Old Man Winter Can't Keep Us from Being Active Rebecca Parrish | 01/07/2016 As winter approaches and the weather grows colder (and holiday meals and sweets become more prevalent), I fall back on an insid...

    AdobeStock_79440479_350As winter approaches and the weather grows colder (and holiday meals and sweets become more prevalent), I fall back on an inside activity that never disappoints….roller skating. It is a family favorite; most Tuesday nights you will find my husband, son, and me at our local rink ($3 per person Family Night Special) skating circles around each other….literally. Physical activity and merriment for less than $10.00.

    Admittedly my preferred form of physical activity, roller skating combines aerobic activity and fun. It can be done outdoors or indoors. With music or without. Inline skates or traditional four wheels (also called “quad skate”). Alone or in groups. At all ages. With all levels (skill does improve with practice!).

    Historians tell us that roller skating has been around since the mid-1700’s, growing popular in America in the 1880’s. Roller skating continues to evolve as a hobby and a sport. Inline speed skating is a non-contact agility sport, and roller derby is a high-energy contact team sport. Roller hockey was featured in the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona. We see servers on skates at restaurants, and skating has been featured in numerous movies and even inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to write the musical Starlight Express. Singing on skates? Count me in.

    Even recreational (moderate) roller skating offers aerobic exercise to improve cardiovascular health. It has a low impact on bones and joints, builds strength and coordination. A person can burn approximately 350-600 calories an hour, depending on size and speed of roller skating. It is hard to skate with a frown on your face. I always feel my mood lighten after an hour or two at the rink with my family.

  • Kick Off Your First Day with a Hike Kick Off Your First Day with a Hike Deanna Anderson | 12/29/2015 There is a belief that how you spend the first twelve days of the year predicts how you'll spend the next twelve months, so let...

    There is a belief that how you spend the first twelve days of the year predicts how you'll spend the next twelve months, so let's all start the New Year off healthy and active with a hike on January 1st. Originating twenty years ago in Massachusetts at the Blue Hills Reservation, State Park 1st Day Hikes were designed to promote healthier lifestyles and bring awareness to state parks. Over the years, they've become part of a nationwide initiative led by America's State Parks to get people outdoors, according to the American Hiking Society. And, every year brings more participation with recent years seeing hikes in all fifty states.

    In South Carolina, with over half of our state parks participating, there is no shortage of options. Hikers can spend the New Year in the mountains of the Upstate, our capital city, the wetlands of the Low Country, or anywhere in between. Many of the parks are offering other activities too. Among them are cold water plunges (Aiken, Paris Mountain, Hunting Island, Sadler's Creek, and Devil's Fork), a 5K Race (Devil's Fork) and mountain bike rides (Poinsett, Santee). Park volunteers and staff may be discussing topics such as outdoor or nature photography, wildlife, or park amenities and history. Hot chocolate and refreshments after the hike are also being offered at many locations.

    The state parks are not the only ones getting involved in 1st Day Hikes either.  The South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) will be hosting a 1st Day Hike at Camp Discovery in Blythewood. Participants will be led through meadows and woodland habitats by the Midlands Master Naturalist Association and learn about flora, fauna, and our natural heritage. Prior to the hike children will make their own trail mix and afterwards everyone will partake of deliciously warm hot chocolate. The hike is free but the SCWF does ask for a $10.00 cash or check donation.

    All the hikes take place on January 1st but start times, difficulty levels, and age restrictions vary and park admission fees or registration may apply, so always call ahead to the location of your choice. Hikes are designed to encourage everyone to get out and get healthy, and they typically average one to three miles with easy to moderate difficulty levels.  However, more difficult or strenuous hikes are also available such as a 7.2 mile hike at Table Rock.

    Wear comfortable clothing appropriate for the weather and dress in layers. Choose durable hiking boots or tennis shoes with closed heels and toes. Also pack water, snacks, bug spray, sun screen, a small first aid kit, and a camera. For more information on hikes or activities at the state parks, visit the South Carolina State Parks website at southcarolinparks.comTo sign up for the Camp Discovery Hike, visit the South Carolina Wildlife Federation website  or contact Sara Green, SCWF Director of Education at 803-609-4778 or email Sara. To learn more about 1st Day Hikes visit the American Hiking Society or the Americas's State Park website.

  • VIDEO: 17 Miles of Biking and Hiking at Croft State Park VIDEO: 17 Miles of Biking and Hiking at Croft State Park 12/09/2015 Croft State Park overview from MoreView Media on Vimeo. Croft State Park is a big park with lots to do. A green retreat in the...

    Croft State Park overview from MoreView Media on Vimeo.

    Croft State Park is a big park with lots to do. A green retreat in the heart of Spartanburg County, the park offers more than 17 miles of biking and hiking trails, a playground, picnicking and camping, as well as fishing and boating in two lakes, including 165-acre Lake Craig. The diverse park was once an Army training base and covers beautiful, rolling, wooded terrain that also provides habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna just five miles from downtown Spartanburg. Check out the video below then make plans to visit Croft State Park soon!

  • Go Outside and Take Your Medicine Go Outside and Take Your Medicine 09/28/2015 By Ned Barrett, Trails Coordinator for Partners for Active Living I had the great fortune of getting to spend three weeks ba...

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    By Ned Barrett, Trails Coordinator for Partners for Active Living

    I had the great fortune of getting to spend three weeks backpacking in Colorado this summer. I hiked several sections of the Colorado Trail through some of the most remarkable mountain landscapes in the world. Nine days alone in high mountains allowed me to gather some perspective and fed my soul. The simplicity of living on a backpacking trip reduces the definition of needs to a minimum and multiple days out allows for the comfort of routine to set in.

    I won’t say that my trip was a once in a lifetime adventure, but I won’t get to do anything like it again for some time for sure. I am grateful to have had the opportunity afforded me by my colleagues and especially my wife, and I tried to make the most of it by having more fun than I should be allowed to have. I’ve already bored my friends and colleagues with photos and stories.

    I have always had a need for outdoor adventure, and I feed it on a regular basis. I run at Croft State Park two or three times a week, and with the Pisgah National Forest, Jones Gap State Park, Table Rock, the Linville Gorge and other amazing places within a couple hours drive, there’s no shortage around here of places to get away for a morning or a day or two.

    Here in Spartanburg we have many places nearby to make even daily adventures possible. Besides Croft State Park, we have the Cottonwood Trail, owned by the Spartanburg Area Conservancy (SPACE); several sections of the Palmetto Trail, our mountains-to-the-sea trail being developed by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation; the Wadsworth Trail on the westside; trails at Duncan Park, Glendale Shoals, along the Chinquapin Creek, and at the Milliken Research Center; many of the County parks have trails that allow for doses of nature. Even my two-mile bike commute to work gives me a microdose.

    In some ways my sense of adventure is a matter of attitude as much as location. No matter how well you know an area, if you pay attention, you notice the little changes, like the rise and fall of the creek after a storm and the effects of the setting sun on the tree canopy.

    Evidence is piling up—from the education, mental and physical health folks among others—of the value of being outside. Spending time in nature makes us healthier, happier and smarter. There is growing demand in Spartanburg and around the country for places for us to fill our prescriptions.

    Partners for Active Living is proud to run at the front end of the field: we facilitated a shared use agreement between District 6 and District 7 Schools and the City of Spartanburg to open up schoolyards to their communities on weekends and in the summer. We coordinate new trail implementation to connect existing trails across the county. We work with schools to develop comprehensive wellness plans to effect health improvements in students, staff and families. We encourage getting outside through our bike-sharing and bike-lending programs, and promote healthy outdoor activity through events large and small.

    Now go outside and take your medicine.

    Ned Barrett is the Trails Coordinator at Partners for Active Living and works as a consultant to help other communities achieve their goals. To read more from Ted and to learn more about PAL, visit their site at www.active-living.org

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