The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity for adults 18–64 years of age. But finding time for a daily workout can be tough. From the moment we get up, life is hectic and time is tight.
The good news is that exercise does not have to be continuous in order to glean the rewards. Taking 5 or 10 minutes a few times a day is all you need to meet the 30-minute recommendation.
Choose activities that you enjoy, which will make it easier to commit your time and stick with the plan.
Here are eight easy ways to add extra exercise to your daily routine:
- Take the stairs. It may be a common adage, but it’s worth the effort. If you work or live on the 25th floor, you may want to start small, say two or three flights of stairs. As your endurance improves, try adding another flight.
- Get up during commercial breaks. Stand up and stretch, or lie down and work your abs. Do some planks on the wall or the floor. Lean against a wall and swing your legs, or do a few squats.
- Take a walk during lunch. It does not need to be a mile—a few blocks are all you need. As your endurance improves, pick up your pace or add a few more blocks.
- Turn housework into a workout. Not many of us enjoy doing chores, but turn on some music and think of it as part of your goal to exercise more.
- Enlist a friend, coworker, or family member. Chances are, you know somebody who is in the same place as you are. If you cannot meet in person, strike up a deal to unite by phone, text, Facebook, or email a few times a week and share a mini workout together.
- Move while you sit. Keep some dumb bells close to your desk at work or at home. Do some bicep curls and arm raises, lift and lower your legs, or tighten and release your stomach muscles for an extra activity boost.
- Sit on a balance ball or stand on a Bosu ball. Doing something that takes you off balance recruits a number of muscles, especially the core, in order to put you back in balance. You might want to start close to a wall or another stable object. Eventually, consider exchanging your desk chair for a balance ball.
- Join your children in playtime. Get outside and play catch, throw a Frisbee, or shoot some hoops with your kids. It will benefit them as well as you.
You may think that you are doing less than you really are. Investing in a pedometer to track your daily mileage is an effective way to instill positive reinforcement and encouragement.
In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water. Every system in our body requires adequate hydration for optimal function, and water is vital to the delivery of oxygen to those hard-working muscles.
Leslie Mary Olsen is a certified personal trainer, certified health coach, fitness coaching specialist, and licensed massage therapist. She holds a master’s degree in health policy and has over 30 years of experience in the health and wellness field.