You want to be more physically active, but how do you find the time? And just how much activity do you have to do?
The number one reason people are not more active is time. We now know that accumulating short bouts of activity throughout the day to reach a total of 30 minutes most days a week provides comparable benefits to completing 30 minutes of activity all at once. There are many ways to increase your physical activity level by simply putting a twist on activities you already complete daily.
Here are some examples of how to boost your fitness when at home, work, traveling, running errands, and caring for children.
Nothing beats increasing your physical activity level at home. No time wasted traveling to a gym and you can wear and look however you want! Many typical home activities result in an increased heart rate and strength building. Some examples include mowing/raking the lawn, shoveling snow, vacuuming, mopping, unloading the car, carrying groceries, and taking out the trash. Now take these everyday activities and add a little something extra. How about lunges while you vacuum, arm curls while carry your grocery bags, calf raises while brushing your teeth, and actually squatting when accessing bottom shelves? Do you log more hours than you care to admit in front of the TV? Take advantage of the commercial breaks to do 3 minutes of sit-ups or push-ups.
At the Office
Start your day by arriving at work a few minutes early so you have time to park your car farther away or if you take the bus, get off early and walk the last couple blocks. This is a simple way to add 10-15 minutes of activity to your day while also giving you some much needed time to yourself. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator to reach your office. Be sure to take two 15 minute breaks during an eight hour work day. Use your break time to boost your fitness level by stretching or taking a walk around the building. If time gets away from you, schedule your computer to provide a “break time” reminder. Short breaks for activity throughout your work day have the added benefit of clearing your mind, boosting your energy, and making your work time more productive. Other ways to increase your activity level at work include finding a longer route to the bathroom or coffee machine and walking to a co-workers office versus reaching for the phone. A pedometer is a great tool for monitoring your activity when at the office. You can set goals to try to increase the number of steps you walk each day to improve your fitness level.
On the Road
Traveling doesn’t mean your fitness goals have to halt during your time on the road. There are simple activities that will increase your activity level and help decrease the discomforts that often accompany long periods on the road. When driving, schedule breaks every two to three hours to stop, stretch, and take a brisk walk around a roadside park. When behind the wheel, shift around as much as possible to assist circulation and ease stiffness. Traveling by plane or train means limited space, but you can stretch your arms and neck by reaching towards the luggage rack and completing shoulder/neck rolls in your seat. Get up every hour for a short walk to the restroom to stretch your legs. When navigating the airport choose the stairs and walk as much as possible versus using moving walkways, escalators, and elevators.