A common stumbling block many people face is making the time to exercise. Inability to carve out chunks of time from a busy schedule to get to the gym derails many attempts to increase one’s level of physical activity. It is important to know that fitting small bouts of physical activity into your day can be a good strategy toward meeting your fitness goals. In fact, recent studies show that an overall active lifestyle approach, compared to the traditional structured exercise approach, may be just as beneficial in improving health outcomes, including successful weight loss. A recent study in the scientific journal PLOS ONE provides additional evidence that the amount of time spent sitting has a negative effect on insulin resistance and blood lipid levels, two major risk factors of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Even individuals who engage in regular exercise up to an hour a day are at greater risk, if the remainder of the day is spent sitting. Aim to minimize the amount of time spent sitting, and reap the benefits of greater health and more calories burned.
Tips for squeezing more physical activity into your day
- Rule #1: Don’t sit when you can stand. Don’t stand when you can walk. Don’t stroll when you can walk briskly.
- Choose the stairs as often as possible. You can even walk more when using the escalator. Just because the stairs are moving doesn’t mean you can’t move as well.
- Catching up with family or friends can be combined with a physical activity, like a walk in the park or along the beach. Most people will appreciate a chance to be more active.
- Park farther away from your destination. It’s a simple strategy that can really add up.
- The best kind of activity is one that doesn’t feel like a chore. Find activities you enjoy, and you’ll be more likely to do them. As long as you’re moving, it counts.
- Combine catching up with your favorite TV shows with catching up with your exercise. Whether you choose to march or jog in place or do simple calisthenics, this is a great way to make exercise time something to look forward to.
- Wear a pedometer, and aim for 10,000 steps per day. This is an inexpensive and easy way to monitor your activity level.
- If you have a desk job, take short walking breaks throughout the day. Walking on your lunch break is a great idea too. Even a short walk is better than no walk and will make you feel refreshed.