Over the course of a busy week, physical activity often comes last. One is often “too busy” or “too tired” from a difficult day at work or at home with family. It is easy to put off the gym until the next day.
In fact, an increase in physical activity may actually reduce day-to-day fatigue. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of daily general exercise, including walking, can lead to improvements in heart disease, asthma, diabetes, obesity, and overall metabolism. In addition, exercise also can decrease stress and anxiety.
- Do you spend extra effort trying to find a closer spot to park?
- Do you take the elevator both up and down to your office and/or garage?
- Do you drive to the corner store to pick up something?
- Do you belong to a gym but haven’t been in weeks?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, it is very easy to add some form of physical activity to your life.
- Try to walk at least 30 minutes every day. This walking does not have to be continuous. It can add up to 30 minutes over the course of the day.
- Purchase a pedometer if you are struggling to keep track of how much you have walked in one day. You will quickly see how easy it is to take 10,000 steps a day!
If you are already walking and counting steps, try adding some additional cardiovascular activity to your day.
- Twenty additional minutes of exercise on the bike, elliptical, or treadmill with a constant elevation of heart rate can improve exercise capacity. Try this technique five days per week.
- Adding progressive resistance training 2-3 days per week can improve muscle strength and improve overall metabolism.
If you are trying to lose weight, try not to get discouraged if your weight loss is slow with an increase in physical activity. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat. You will be improving muscle strength and will, thus, have a slower weight loss progression. A good goal is to aim for a 10% weight loss in a 6 month period.