Healthy living is most definitely a two-sided coin. Normally I focus primarily on the eating component of a healthy lifestyle but I want to discuss the undeniable importance of the other side: exercise. A nutritious diet is great but it will only get you so far in your journey for overall health. Regular physical activity helps control weight, reduce the symptoms or risk of disease, and boosts our energy. The U.S. Government ‘s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans says we need 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (i.e. brisk walking). That’s typically divided into 30 minutes of exercise for 5 days a week. We also need to do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week. For those of you who exercise more intensely (i.e. running), you only require 75 minutes a week plus muscle-strengthening workouts at least twice a week.
This seems like a lofty goal but keep in mind that you can divide it up into smaller segments as long as each is at least 10 minutes long. For those of you who can afford gym memberships, make sure you actually go! For the rest of you (myself included) who can’t find room in their budget for this luxury, here are some tips for fitting more physical activity into your busy schedules.
- Try to take the stairs at work (unless you work on the 100th floor!) Seven flights is a good goal
- Get your hands on workout DVDs (i.e. P90, Hip Hop Abs, Zumba) and do a 30-45 minute segment a few times a week. Don’t worry if you can’t stick to their 90 day schedules- just get moving and do what you can!
- If feasible, walk to work
- Cleaning your house can be quite the workout. Put on some music and mop to the rhythm
- Kids can literally give you a RUN for your money. Their endless energy will force you to burn calories by chasing them around. If you don’t have kids, ask to borrow your niece or nephew for the day and take them somewhere where there’s lots of room to roam
- You don’t need fancy equipment to do jumping jacks, pushups, walking, squats, free weights, stairs, or crunches. A makeshift home gym is easy to put together
- And my favorite...Dance party!!! Dancing is a fun, easy way to workout and it doesn't even feel like you're exercising
Try to implement one of these free ways to get moving this week. What other non-gym exercises do you already do?
Stay tuned for Sports Nutrition: Part 2 which will focus on what to eat before and after the gym and if sports drinks are beneficial.
For more info on exercise guidelines visit here.