Most people know that exercise is necessary for weight loss, blood sugar maintenance, and good health. However, knowing does not always translate into doing. What stops you from achieving your exercise goals? Creating new habits requires an effective plan, and a plan that works is a plan that you can live with. Read on to see how you can build more health benefiting moves into your life.
Too Busy and Too Tired
Busyness and tiredness are common responses to what stops people from exercising. Being too busy to play and relax causes over tiredness which causes laziness, and these become our lifestyle habits. But like all other lifestyle choices, including exercise in your routine is a habit that is cultivated over time.
A mentally and emotionally demanding but sedentary lifestyle is the #1 cause of modern health problems like heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Increasing the amount you move by even 15 to 20 minutes a day will improve your overall health. Trying to form new habits in a day or a week usually doesn’t work, but there are some easy ways you can increase your daily activity without changing your life drastically.
Increase with baby steps and practice
You can trick yourself into exercising more by increasing the amount you move a little every day. Start with adding steps or additional movements to the activities you already do. See if you can find some tips from this list to increase the exercise value of your current daily routine.
- Exercise in bed – Before getting out of bed in the morning do some stretches, yoga, leg lifts or anything else that get’s your blood flowing and your muscles warmed up. 5 or 10 minutes of wake up moves can be an energizing way to start your day.
- Bathroom and kitchen moves – Do micro exercises while showering or brushing your teeth. This can be as simple as raising up and down on your toes while at the mirror, doing some side stretches or clenching and flexing your gluteal muscles (butt muscles) while in the shower.
- Get up and move every hour – Whether you’re at your desk or on the couch you don’t have to be stuck there. Go to the water fountain or the bathroom more often, walk around your house while talking on the phone. Any movement, even fidgeting, contributes to burning calories.
- Moves you can do almost anywhere – At home or the office take a break for some arm circles, squats, lunges, or a chair dip. Even when you’re standing in line at a store you can do some calf raises.
- Do more housework or yard work – Vacuuming, mopping and cleaning bathrooms can be a good workout with a double benefit – a cleaner house. Gardening, raking and snow shoveling can also be part of your weekly exercise plan.
- Do in-store laps before shopping – Shop at big box stores or malls where you can speed walk through the aisles a few times before turning your focus to the items you went there to buy. If it’s a beautiful day you might even consider walking around the perimeter of the lot.
- Play more – Spending fun time with your kids, pets or friends will not only get you moving more but it can also relieve stress and increase your enjoyment of life.
- Park a little farther away – Searching for the closest parking space may take longer than parking at a distance and walking briskly to your destination. Try it sometime, and then make it a habit wherever you go.
- Get off public transport early and walk – Get off the bus, train or subway one or two blocks early and walk the rest of the way.
- Become a stair master – Walk up at least one flight of stairs whenever they are available. You can increase the number of flights you go up as you get better at it. If your knees are bad take the elevator down.
Don’t Give Up!
It takes 3 to 4 weeks of determined effort before any lifestyle change starts taking root as a habit. Find one or two ways you can increase movement in your daily life, and when that starts to feel normal try adding another. The starting point is being willing to move more every day and building that into your lifestyle. After you feel the benefits of increased movement you might find the motivation to join an exercise class, a gym or put on that Zumba DVD that’s been sitting on the shelf.
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