In addition to maintaining a healthy weight exercise is good for your mental health, gives you energy, can improve your sex life, promotes better sleep and help combat chronic illnesses/disease. So with all of these benefits, why does it seem to be the one thing that people just don't do?
Hands down, the NUMBER ONE excuse I hear from people is that they just don't have the time. Simply put, that is just not true. Again, I'm a big fan of lists. Here are several ways to get in exercise no matter how short of time you are.
1. Studies have shown that three 10-minute sessions are just as effective as one 30 minute session. On the days where you are just running from one appointment or meeting to another it is still possible. For those that have jobs with regular lunch breaks. Use 20 minutes to eat your meal--a lot easier when you bring it from home. Not only do you save money, but you give yourself a 10 minute window to take a brisk walk after you eat. If you work in an office building with a stairwell you can even use those to give you even more of a boost. Not only a great way to squeeze in 10 minutes, but it will help to ward off the 3 p.m. afternoon slump that takes you to the vending machine.
2. Use stairs wherever possible instead of escalators or elevators.
3. Park further away from all of the entrances of buildings you frequent. People should aim to get 10,000 steps a day which is roughly the equivalent of five miles. The way to track your steps is with a pedometer. Keep in mind you get what you pay for and it's worth spending in the 10-30 dollar range for a decent one. People who wear pedometers, on average, walk more than people who don't. All those steps add up for your heart and waistline to positive results.
4. How much time do you spend watching television each night or playing on the computer? I understand, because I do in fact spend a lot of time in front of the television while also on the computer. However, I also take the time away from the computer to get my routine done for the day. Shows can be recorded or in most cases viewed online these days. There is no reason to say I can't go to that class or a 30-minute after dinner walk because I'll miss (fill in the blank).
5. During the times that you are watching your shows you can use the commercial breaks for simple calisthenics. Jumping jacks, toe touches, ab twists, jumping rope (you don't need the actual rope), march in place, crunches, squats, lunges. This list goes on and on.....
6. When you are waiting on line anywhere you can do calf raises. Don't worry if anybody is looking at you. People aren't thinking about you as much as you think they are. You should see me with my iPod on shuffle through the aisles at Winn Dixie. I'm dancing and bopping my head to the music. I'm having a grand ole time while doing something I truly enjoy. I don't care what anyone is thinking when they catch a glimpse. I hope they're thinking,'NOW, there's someone who loves life.'
7. Which brings me to my last point. No matter what kind of movement you are doing you have to make it FUN!!!! That's right, FUN!!!! If it's not something you enjoy then you aren't going to continue. When it comes to exercise I tell people to find something they really love that also burns calories. If you have fun you won't think of it as 'exercise' and the more likely you are to stick with the routine. Also be willing to try things that you think might be fun. You never know what you may discover.
A personal note, a confession if you will. I STILL don't love to exercise. I don't. I love to workout others, but I still struggle some days with doing my own workouts. That doesn't mean I don't do them, it just means that some days I struggle to get off the couch. The biggest part of the equation for me was my last point. I had to find ways to make exercise fun as well as challenging. So on the days where I really don't want to I go for a walk. It's amazing what five minutes does to my attitude. I also found other ways to look at my activity in a way that I didn't associate necessarily as exercise. I'm all for positive mind tricks. Here below are my favorite ways to combine exercise/fun to keep myself in top shape from mental to physical health.
Riding my adult tricycle that I named 'Harley' is not exercise. It's transportation. I totaled my car on New Year's Eve 2008. My husband's car died three weeks later. We can not afford two vehicles and he needs a car for his job; therefore, 'Harley' became my main wheels. She weighs 77 pounds and has a cart that I use to carry my goods. I've had her just under a year. She has been ridden in rainstorms, freezing cold, wind gusts up to 30 mph, 22 miles round trip in one day and almost 800 miles--all by me. What fun she and I have had. We go to the library, feed the Palomino horses, the park to lock her up and take the bus to the beach, restaurants, meetings, the grocery store and last but not least, the roller skating rink almost every Wednesday night.
AH, Roller Skating. NOT exercise for me. It's my mental health well being cardiovascular anger management get it all out for two hours session. I began roller skating at the age of six. I went skating pretty much every weekend of my life until I was 18 or 19. Then I just stopped. In December 2005, I went to our local rink. It was the first time I had been on skates in 15 years. I got on that floor and I never stopped. I forgot how much fun I used to have when I was skating. Now when it's Wednesday and for the rare reason I can't or don't go I feel it all week. It's not only a skate session, but also one of my only social outlets. I have many acquaintances that I see every week that just makes it more fun. When I am skating all is right with the world.
Last but not least, Belly Dancing. This is a class I used to go to regularly when it was offered for free at the library; however, budget cuts were made and some programs went by the wayside. Belly Dancing was the first one cut. The instructor set up shop elsewhere, but had to start charging a fee and being out of work not something I could afford. However, now I am in a position where I can go twice a month so I am going to start again this Monday. Definitely does not feel like exercise. Belly Dancing is a way to connect with my inner sensual side and celebrate being a woman in a positive way with a group of women who are there for the same reasons. It is one of the most empowering hours I spend with myself in a group.
Take an exercise class that sounds like fun. Get together regularly with a friend and become walking buddies. Remember some of the things you did when you were younger that you had fun doing and rediscover them. The main objective is to just get moving and keep moving on a consistent basis. Your mental and physical health depend on you making the choice to move. You are worth the time to invest in you.