Regular physical activity comes loaded with health benefits, including reduced risk for (or improved management of) chronic disease. What does that mean? It means getting regular exercise can help you lower your risk of getting health issues like type 2 diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and heart disease. Or, if you already have these conditions, it can help reduce risk of health complications down the road.
Beyond those benefits, physical activity has been shown to help you get better sleep, as well as some pretty awesome boosts in energy and mood. So, are you getting your daily activity in? It’s recommended for adults to get at least 30 minutes of activity a day, 5 days a week (150 minutes total), with added benefit for increased physical activity. Curious how to stay active during your busy day? We’ve got you covered with 5 easy ways to get moving!
Find yourself pressed for time throughout the day? Break up your activity into small bursts! Even 5-10 minutes at a time can add up to 30+ minutes by the end of the day, and several recent studies show that a few shorter sessions of activity may be more beneficial to health than one longer one. This is a great strategy for anyone who works a desk job or sits a lot during the day, as it not only helps achieve your activity goals, but also encourages healthy breaks from sitting all day. Looking for a quick routine to start your day? Check out this highly effective workout, it’s easy to do at home and only takes 7 minutes. Or, if you are just starting out, check out this or this YouTube video.
While a quick workout might be the last thing on your mind on a busy day, what if you could make small changes that could have a big impact? Is that ingredient you need for dinner at the corner store you can walk to instead of a big chain grocery? Make a quick walk out of it. If you must drive to do an errand, park at the back of the parking lot and get a few extra steps in. Going somewhere with an elevator? Take the stairs if you are able. You can even stop to do some stair lunges. It seems counterintuitive but expending more energy on tasks like these should actually make you more energetic in the long run.
Whether it’s a business call or catching up with friends…sounds to us like an opportunity to get a walk in! Switch it up and take a walk while you chat, you might even find that it leads to a more productive meeting! Need to chat with a relative? Catch up while you take a spin around the block – 30 minutes will feel like nothing in the company of a good friend or loved one.
Get this – an hour-long TV show has an average 13-16 minutes of commercial time. Use this downtime to your advantage and squeeze in a workout while you wait for your program to resume. These quick bursts are a great time to work on strength training or quickly get your heart rate up. Looking for some easy, at-home “fitspiration”? Check out these 50 moves that can be done anywhere, equipment-free.
If going to the gym makes you think of slogging along on a treadmill or an uninspiring weight room, fear not! There are plenty of ways to get active and still have fun. If you miss the days of team sports, check out adult intramural leagues in your area. Or, maybe something creative, like dancing is more your style. Love nature? Try hiking, kayaking, or even just taking the dog to the park. Crave variety? Group fitness plans such as Classpass, which gives you countless options and are perfect for those who want a taste of everything. Even home fitness routines can find a dose of fun with activities such as rebounding – bouncing on a trampoline in the name of fitness! Whatever your style, find something that you enjoy and keeps you coming back for more…you’ll hit that weekly activity goal in no time.
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PS – remember to always check with your doctor before beginning a new activity or making changes to your existing exercise routine.
on September 28, 2022. Kelsea is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA.