Happy Friday all! Today we’ve got a special guest post from our friends at Everyday Health. Hope you enjoy their tips for getting active everyday. How do you sneak physical activity into your daily routine?
For most people, exercise is a four letter word. But to keep your weight in check, lose weight, or just live a healthier lifestyle, it needs to be a part of your life. The benefits of being more active throughout the day are huge. You will see a boost in your overall energy, stimulate your brain, strengthen your bones, hydrate your muscles and joints, and simply improve your quality of life. Exercise can also be a time for meditation, contemplation, and reflection.
For those who just plain despise exercise or cannot find a place in their daily routine for it, try making your most mundane tasks around your home or workplace an opportunity for movement. Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving and allows you to burn calories. We were designed to move! I recently read the book, ‘Move a Little, Lose A Lot’ by James Levine, MD, PhD. This book is all about increasing your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). By being more active throughout the day, you can burn an additional 1500-2000 calories.
Instead of just letting your dog outside, take her for a 15 minute walk around the block. When you get home from the grocery store, try making multiple trips back and forth to the car instead of hauling eight bags at once. Wash your car by hand rather than driving through a car wash. Put your food processor aside and chop, dice, and mix by hand. And of course, there is parking farther from your workplace, taking the stairs, or pacing while on the phone.
In addition to participating in a regular exercise program, I ask my clients to take a look at how many hours in their day that they are sedentary–sleeping, sitting at a desk, working on a computer, watching television, driving, reading a book, etc. Most of us are guilty of sitting too much and then think that if we hit the gym for 30 minutes, we are all set. Don’t get me wrong; this is definitely better than nothing. There are so many opportunities in our daily lives to get some additional steps in.
For those that would like to add some formal exercise to their lives, the American Heart Association recommends adding 30 minutes of aerobic activity to your daily routine, five times a week. You can also experience health benefits by dividing your time into multiple 10-15 minute segments. Walking is one of the most available modes of exercise; it is free, doesn’t require a ton of planning, and can be performed just about anywhere. Aerobic exercise can also include jogging, swimming, biking, or some organized sports.
Increasing physical activity and finding a place for aerobic exercise in your life are generally the first two steps. Once you feel comfortable with your routine, start adding some resistance activity and yoga or stretching to work stamina and flexibility.
By Jennifer Bayliss, MSEd, ATC, CSCS, Manager of Fitness for Everyday Health
Levine, J.E and Yeager, S. (2009). Move a Little, Lose A Lot. New York, NY: Crown Publishing.