Johnston: Aiming to add physical activity with a ‘lazy triathlon’

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, August 21, 2019

As a family and consumer sciences agent, I have been doing some great programming about eating healthy and increasing physical activity. I even do it as a parent, putting vegetables on my kids’ plates and encouraging them to play outside instead of sitting inside on an electronic device.

But I have a confession. I don’t always put the same veggies on my plate and I will watch them play through the kitchen window as I check social media.

I am the embodiment of ‘do as I say, not as I do.’

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I hear your gasps. We all have room for improvement and I am in the same boat as many of you.

New scientific evidence supports the importance of physical activity and the high risks of sedentary behavior.

I know moving more throughout the day can help reduce the risks of many health problems, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers and even dementia.

If those long term benefits weren’t enough, increasing your physical activity can help you feel better right away.

By moving more, you naturally boost your mood, sharpen your focus, reduce your stress and improve your sleep. Now who doesn’t want all that?

Despite the overwhelming evidence of these health benefits, only about 20 percent of adults meet the recommended Physical Activity Guidelines of at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity and at least two days per week of muscle strengthening activity (I’m in that 80 percent).

But I want to change that. I want to be the “do as I do” mom.

I’m willing to try to do more and I think you can too. Moderate-intensity activity is anything that gets your heart beating faster than normal; like walking the dog or gardening.

Moderate intensity activity is when you are breathing hard but can still easily have a conversation. Muscle-strengthening activity is anything that makes your muscles do more work than normal. This could include push-ups or lifting weights.

So to start my ‘Shonda Needs to Move More’ campaign, I think I’m going to take advantage of Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation’s Lazy Man’s Ironman Triathlon that goes on during September.

The idea behind this is instead of completing a triathlon in one day, you can complete it over the course of a month. You have 30 days to walk 26.2 miles, bike 112 miles and swim or row 2.4 miles.

There is no cost to sign up for the event, you get a calendar to record your activity each day.

You can complete the activities anywhere, like walking/biking in your neighborhood or accessing a gym where you have a membership.

Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation is also offering access to full facility activities for $30 for September if you want to use their facility. Get more information at Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation if you’re interested.

I’m hoping this will be a springboard for me to get moving more. It sounds more like my pace of things, as you can ease into it slowly.

The good news is anything that gets you moving counts. Like cleaning the house, raking leaves, taking the stairs or walking to your car. You don’t have to do things that feel like exercise to get the benefits of physical activity.

Take the first step and get a little more active each day. Start with just five minutes. And if you’re feeling up to it, join me as I do a (lazy) triathlon.

For more information about increasing physical activity, call the Clark County Cooperative Extension Service at 859-744-4682.

Shonda Johnston is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. She can be reached at 859-744-4682 or by email at