Making Time for Exercise

Regular physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. If exercising is not a part of your routine now, get started as soon as possible. Anything you do to get your body moving is better than doing nothing!

Consult with your physician before you begin your new regimen, especially if you have been sedentary for a long time. Begin slowly and gradually add more challenges. Sixty minutes of moderate exercising per day is recommended by the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Choose Activities You Enjoy
And You Can Fit in Your Lifestyle

Choose an exercise program you enjoy. No matter what you decide on doing, make sure you include these three areas: Aerobics, strength, and flexibility. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, running, swimming or bicycling benefit your cardiovascular fitness. Gymnastics, weightlifting, yoga or tai chi help you build strength and flexibility.

The main obstacle (or excuse) for most people who don’t exercise enough is time. Yes, you will have to find the time somehow, but you can also be smart about your scheduling. Here are some suggestions to increase your physical activity whether you are at home, at work or otherwise busy.

At home
Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement. Push the baby in a stroller. Get the whole family to join you for an afternoon bike ride. Walk up and down the sidelines while watching the kids play sports. Walk the dog and don’t just watch the dog walk. Walk or bicycle whenever you have the chance and leave the car more often in the garage. Stretch and do other simple exercises several times a day. Pedal a stationary bike or use other fitness equipment you can operate at home.

Some work around the house can double as exercising. Washing the car, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn with a push mower, raking leaves and gardening have all positive side effects for your physical health.

At work
Get off the bus or subway one stop early and walk the rest of the way. Replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk. Take part in an exercise program at work or a nearby gym. Team up with colleagues for walks or runs during lunch hour or join the office volleyball team, or whatever one does at your work place.

At play
Walk, jog, skate, or bicycle. Swim or do water aerobics. Take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga. Play golf, but walk the course instead of riding a golf cart. Play all sorts of ball games. Get as much fresh air as possible. Go hiking and work out outdoors. Maybe a public park nearby has a fitness path or something like that. In the Winter, go skiing, cross-country or downhill.

It’s supposed to be fun
Most importantly, have fun while being active! If you find it hard to keep a lasting commitment to your exercise regimen or feel discouraged if you don’t meet your goals right away, consider the benefits you can receive from even the smallest efforts.

Consider the benefits
Regular exercise will help you to keep your weight under control, increase your muscle mass and strength, improve your bone density, lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, elevate your good cholesterol (HDL) level, decrease your blood pressure, reduce your blood sugar and let’s you manage stress better, among many other benefits.

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