Latest information and articles to help you and your family live happier, healthier and safer.
Live Total Wellness
Friday, April 01, 2011
How Do You Fit It All In?
As you have noticed in the series on Heart Health, one of the major factors to a healthy heart is fitness and exercise. You probably, like me, have every intention of becoming more active, but your days are a blur of work, household chores, errands, and time with family and friends. Setting aside enough time to sleep — let alone exercise — can be tough.
So how can you find time for fitness? The key is to be creative, flexible and fit your workouts into your daily routine. And remember any physical activity, not just formal exercise programs,will count and add to your healthy body and heart.
Time spent at home doesn't have to be "couch potato" time. Make fitness a priority at home by trying some of these suggestions:
Try to get up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do and use the extra time to walk on your treadmill or take a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
Chores can count too. Mop the floor, scrub the bathtub or do other housework at a faster pace to get your heart pumping. Outdoor work counts, too. Mowing the lawn with a push mower is a great way to burn calories. Raking and hoeing strengthen your arms and back, and digging works your arms and legs.
Be active while watching TV. This is my favorite way to exercise and I'm not missing out on any of my favorite shows. I will usually stand and watch TV for about 15 minutes while using hand weights, then use my eliptical for 30 minutes. You could ride a stationary bike or do a stretching routine during your favorite shows. Get off the couch any chance you can for example to change the channel or adjust the volume (I don't think I know where those are without the remote).
Involve the whole family. Take group walks before or after dinner. Play catch. My grandson loves to hit the baseball and I love to pitch to him. I get plenty of exercise running after the balls he hits and he gets plenty of exercise running after the balls he misses. Ride your bikes. It's best to build up to about 30 minutes of continuous activity, but you can exercise in shorter bursts, too.
Get your dog into the act. Take daily walks with your best friend. If you don't have a dog, borrow one. An enthusiastic dog may give you the motivation you need to lace up your walking shoes.
Try to fit some work out time into your workday:
Can you walk or bike to work? Maybe you ride the bus to work. Get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way. Try to park a few blocks away from work and walk the rest of the way as well.
You've heard this one before. Take the stairs whenever you can. If you have a meeting on another floor, get off the elevator a few floors early and use the stairs. Better yet, skip the elevator entirely.
Take short walks around the office when you need a break. Maybe take short walks outside, people take cigarette breaks, you can take a fitness break!
Get a group of your co-workers together and start a lunchtime walking group. A group of teachers and myself did this when I was teaching. It's a great way to clear your head. The regular routine and the support of your co-workers may help you stick with the program.
Calendar your workouts or physical activity as you would any other appointment during the day. Promise yourself that you won't change your exercise plans.
If you're like my husband and you travel for work, plan ahead. Choose a hotel that has fitness facilities or bring water weights in your bag. You just fill them up with water in your room. Jump ropes are easy to pack too. Many hotel rooms now come with programs for quick fitness routines. This is one of my favorite when I'm stuck in an airport waiting for a plane; grab your bags and take a walk.
Here are a few more ways you can add more activity to your routine:
When you go to the mall or grocery store, park toward the back of the lot and walk the extra distance. If you have a little extra time, walk inside for a lap or two before you start shopping. Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car so that you're ready when you find a few minutes for exercise.
Make a date with a friend to hike in a local park, or take a family trip to the zoo or someplace where you need to do a lot of walking!
Try a dance club, hiking group or golf league.
Sign up for a softball, soccer or volleyball team through your local parks and recreation department.
Join a fitness club. Sign up for a group exercise class at a nearby fitness club. The cost may be an added incentive to stick with it.
How do you fit your workout or fitness into your daily routine? Share your best method so others can benefit.