In my last post I presented 15 reasons why you should add regular exercise into your life. Are you motivated? Don't know where to start? Too busy you say? We all are, I say!!
We all manage to accomplish whatever we give highest priority to each day. Is there a TV show you watch every Tuesday at 7 or every Thursday at 8? You manage to organize your schedule so that you can watch it, don't you? So the question is, is exercise something you REALLY want to do? If it is, then you will find time to fit it in your schedule.
If you really want it to be, but aren't quite there yet, I have some tips for you. The idea is to slip exercise in where it doesn't disrupt your schedule. Soon you will feel the benefits of exercise and want to purposefully add more to your life.
1) Set up a treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike in front of your TV. (If you have a street bike or mountain bike you can purchase a trainer from your local bike shop for the rear wheel so you can ride inside). Allow yourself the guilty pleasure of watching as much TV as you want as long as you are exercising on a machine. Don't allow yourself to sit in a chair and do nothing, even if it's your favorite show. You're doing double duty with this time and you need not feel guilty for taking time to watch TV. The benefit, you will hardly notice that you are exercising because your mind is distracted.
2) If you are home with the kids during the day or like to watch TV as a family in the evening, make it a 'commercial game'. No one is allowed to sit still during commercials; you must be exercising as long as commercials are playing. If doing it with the family, rotate which person chooses the exercise that you do. Exercise must begin immediately when the commercial starts. Most commercial breaks are 2-3 minutes maximum. With an hour show you will get about 20 minutes of exercise. Examples of exercises to do are: marching in place, jumping jacks, leg lifts, crunches, shoulder presses (use a can of food to add a little weight), bicep curls (use can of food), push-ups, squats, lunges.
Your kids will love the game of commercial exercising. When presented as something we WANT to do and we can't do it until it's a commercial. When the commercial ends we 'have to' stop. They will look forward to the next commercial break to be active with you.
3) Choose your Game Ideally exercise is something you enjoy doing. So get the family or friends out to play softball, football, soccer, kickball, go on a bike ride or hike. Ask around your friends to find out what they like to do. Start or join a volleyball group with your girlfriends.
4) Walk the dog - BRISKLY. Study after study has shown walking to be one of the best overall forms of exercise. The key is to walk briskly, not stopping every few seconds for the dog to sniff around. So, once your dog has taken care of business, get moving. 20-30 minutes of brisk walking will benefit you both. If you don't have a dog, well then, you don't have to wait...get going.
5) Break it up into two-15 min sessions or three-10 minute sessions. It's better to get a couple short exercise sessions in than none at all. Wake up 20 minutes earlier and go for a 15 minute walk. After dinner go for another 15 minute walk. Almost everyone I talk to agrees that they can find 15 minutes to walk. Or wake up 15 minutes early to walk for 10 minutes, walk another 10 minutes during your lunch hour (even if you only have a 30 min lunch) and 10 minutes after dinner.
6) Get a pedometer. The goal is 10,000 steps every day. When you look at how many steps you are currently taking you may find yourself looking for ways to sneak some extra steps in. Take the long way around the store, park at the other end of the mall, volunteer to get the mail at work, take a kids outside (or to the park or the mall) for a walk, run circles around the inside of your house till the pedometer turns 10,000. It feels good to accomplish a goal. 10,000 steps every day will have you moving towards better health immediately.
And remember, just 20 minutes of exercise can erase the negative effects of stress.
How do you squeeze exercise into your busy life? What tip can you share with others who may be struggling?