Do you find yourself struggling to find time to exercise or make it to the gym? If you’re like most of us, life throws a lot at us and before you know it, the day is over. But, exercise doesn’t have to be as onerous to your schedule as you may think. In this blog, we’ll share some facts on the importance of exercise and five tips to add into your daily routine.
Why do I need to exercise?
Physical activity, along with good nutrition and social connection, are the pillars of good health. As reported by the CDC, being more physically active can help:
- Increase brain function and health
- Decrease stress and anxiety (read more about this in our nervous system series here)
- Manage healthy weight
- Strengthen muscles and bones
- Improve critical thinking skills
- Improve heart health and decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease
- Reduce risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
- Lower risk for certain cancers
- Manage chronic conditions
- Increase overall health and ability to do daily activities
Simply, exercise is a long-term investment in YOU.
How much exercise do I need?
Always talk with your doctor or primary care physician about exactly how much exercise is recommended for you, depending on any conditions or injuries you may have. Generally speaking, however, the following amount of time exercising is recommended by the CDC for adults over 18 years old:
- 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week
- Muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days per week
- For adults over 64: Activities which improve balance (yoga, standing on one foot, etc.)
Now, what does 150 minutes of “moderate physical activity” really mean?
Moderate physical activity can be many things: a brisk walk, yoga, pilates, playing with your kids outside, swimming, biking, mowing the lawn—and so much more!
Muscle strengthening also includes a wide swath of activities: weightlifting, walking with weighted bracelets or small dumbbells, digging or shoveling in the garden, bodyweight exercises (pushups, etc.), using resistance bands while you watch Netflix—again, so much!
We’ve listed a few simple ways you can start working some of those 150 minutes into your workday or daily schedule below. And note: you can spread your 150 minutes throughout the week in whatever ways that work best for you! It could be 30 minutes / day for 5 days; 15-20 minutes every day—the options are endless, and it’s all about finding what works best for you.
How can I easily add exercise into my schedule?
Simple Daily Exercise Hacks
Before you dive into adding in new chunks of time to your schedule to work out, there are a few simple things you can do to add more movement into your day:
- Park far away from your location when going to the store, mall, etc. You can get extra steps in by walking further, and if you’re carrying a few bags, you also get some muscle strengthening in!
- Use the stairs rather than the elevator (yes, even if you’re on the 6th floor!) This is a simple way to get your heart rate up with some daily cardio.
- During your lunch break, take a quick walk outside if possible. This is great for stress management and getting a few extra steps in.
- Put on some ankle weights while you run errands! This adds some resistance and additional cardiovascular training to something as simple as going to the grocery store.
- Take your Zoom calls on the move—walk around the office, house or garden (but make sure your camera is turned off!)
Pick one or two of these to add as a new habit! It’s the little things done consistently over time that can make big changes to your health.
10-Minute Chair Yoga
Need to stretch a bit while you’re at work? Want to start small with bringing more physical movement into your day? Chair yoga is the perfect starting point. If you’re at work all day and aren’t able to really leave your desk, this guided chair yoga video will help you get moving!
Lunchtime Zumba Class
If you’re wanting to really move and groove, check out this high energy Zumba class! You can do this in your lunch break, during an afternoon slump, or anytime in your day that you’re wanting to shake out some movement.
Mini-Bodyweight Exercise Session
The easiest way to get more muscle strengthening into your day is with bodyweight exercises. No equipment needed, just you! This includes pushups, sit ups, wall sits, lunges—and so much more. Use the video below to hit the major muscle groups all in 10 minutes!
Beyonce 10-Minute Walking Workout
Do you want to get more steps in, but maybe your neighborhood isn’t conducive to walking? Or hey, maybe going for walks feels like a drag? If that sounds like you, check out this fun 10-minute Beyonce-themed workout to help you get more steps in!
Adding exercise into your schedule can feel like a huge feat, but in reality, taking a few extra minutes to move during your workday can simplify the process of getting physical activity into your daily routine. Remember: start with what you can manage! Some physical activity is always better than none—for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Carve out time for yourself or use a few of the simple tips and tricks we’ve shared with you to boost your health and wellness over time.