Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Carve out Time for Exercise

How to Carve out Time for Exercise

In a world with endless chores, meetings, committees, full e-mail in-boxes, kids activities and volunteering, it's no wonder people find it difficult to make time to exercise. Recommendations for adults stand currently at at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week (CDC), and two days of muscle-strengthening activity. That is equivalent to approximately 20 minutes per day. But, less than 2/3 of American adults are actually getting that amount of exercise (ACSM).  So, if you are not getting enough, you are in good company.  How do you change your habits to include exercise, and start getting what your body needs for optimal health?
  • Be Flexible: Split your exercise into two shorter sessions, or do a "home program"; an exercise video or set of exercises you can do with your body weight or simple equipment like a band or stability ball.  And if you can only fit in 10 minutes, do it, and do a couple of longer workouts on your days off when you have more time 

  • Add Workouts To Your Calendar: You should plan your workout for the day just like you map out your work day with business or family events. This allows you to prepare mentally and physically to start and complete the workout of your choice.
  • Have a Plan B: Have your alternative plans ready and on-hand, just in case you can't make it in time to your fitness class, or the weather forces you to skip your cycling outdoors.  And then see #1 regarding home workouts. 
  • Change Your Way of Thinking: Exercise isn't optional for you health.  You need to change how you think about it.  This is your time to focus on yourself and your quality of life.  You reap the benefits of the hard work by feeling better, having more energy and fitting into the clothes you love.  Your blood pressure decreases, as do your bad cholesterol levels and your health and vitality increase.  This is your insurance policy against some very prevalent chronic diseases.  Take advantage of it. 

  • Do What You Enjoy: The reality is, not everyone enjoys the same activities.  So forcing yourself to run for an hour if you hate it probably isn't a prescription for compliance long term.  Choose activities that you love, particularly those that you have a deep interest in (tennis, martial arts, cycling), or those that you loved as a child (dancing like Zumba).  This will help you stick with exercise because you will look forward to it.

  • Develop an Attitude:  I want you to be offended when someone asks you to skip your workout.  I want you to feel like they are taking something valuable away from you.  And they are.  So insist that the people around you understand how important this is to your overall health, and even try to enlist their help in your compliance by including them in your activities.  Your spouse could try a tennis lesson with you.  Your teen could attend a Body Pump class with you.  Put your baby in a stroller and get out there and walk!
It easy to forget how important this is in the dizzying array of tasks we do from day to day.  But a body in motion stays in motion, so keep moving!!

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