Every few years, the U.S. government releases recommendations on how much exercise Americans should be doing. Thirty minutes of moderate activity every day might be a worthy goal, but it is easy to think, “Why bother?” if you cannot seem to fit a half-hour workout into your daily schedule. If this sounds like you, keep in mind a few old sayings: a little goes a long way, and something is better than nothing. Any amount of exercise can contribute to your body’s fight against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, depression and osteoporosis, among other conditions. When it comes to overall health, the goal of exercise is to keep your weight down; maintain good flexibility, circulation and muscle function; and regulate blood sugar. This can be accomplished in short bursts, aiming for a total of about 2½ hours of aerobic exercise per week—a lot less daunting than a 30-minute block every day. Even 10 minutes of physical activity can have a significant impact on your health, and it does not need to be performed in a gym.
To reap the benefits of exercise without feeling overwhelmed by current guidelines, consider the following tips:
- Go the long way around. Park your car in the spot farthest from the mall entrance, and opt for the stairs over the escalator or elevator.
- Trot instead of text. Rather than having a conversation on your smartphone, make an evening walk with a friend part of your routine. You can maintain a relationship while getting in some exercise.
- Eat local, but not too local. Choose a take-out restaurant about 15 minutes from your office, and make yourself walk there to pick up lunch.
- Feed your competitive streak. Challenge friends to a basketball game, tennis match or even a ping-pong tournament
- Give yourself a break. Do not feel bad if you fall o the exercise bandwagon. Just start slowly, incorporating movement into your day and build back up to a healthy level of exercise.
We can design an exercise program tailored to your needs and limitations. This way, you can stay motivated, achieve your specific goals and maintain good overall health.