Isn’t it ironic that we have so many modern conveniences, but can’t find the time to take care of ourselves? According to the Centers for Disease Control, a whopping 80% of U.S. adults don’t meet the minimal exercise guidelines—a paltry 2.5 hours per week of aerobic exercise and some minimal resistance training twice a week. Not exactly a big time commitment. We spend more time than that doing Starbucks runs, mindlessly watching silly videos, and admiring pet selfies on Facebook.
It’s common knowledge that exercise is the magic health pill. It helps with weight maintenance, keeps many diseases at bay, promotes restful sleep, and reduces stress. It even revitalizes your brain health and helps ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
So, why don’t we take the time to exercise? Has a lethargy plague broken out? No. We just need an attitude adjustment.
Our exercise mindset is typically a single fixed routine. For example, your habit may be a one-hour visit to the gym. Or maybe you lace up your shoes and hit the road for three miles. Inevitably, stuff happens and we find ourselves unable to squeeze in our prescribed exercise routine. The result? We do nothing at all. We tell ourselves we’ll make it a priority tomorrow.
Attitude adjustment: Think “exercise snacks.” Studies have found that brief bouts of exercise, as little as 10 minutes, rather than a sustained workout of 30 minutes, actually produce superior health benefits, such a controlling blood sugar and hypertension. It may be that we try a little harder with a closer finish line. And most of us find the short stints more enjoyable than the marathon sessions.
Create opportunities for exercise snacks:
- Take a short break and walk around the block
- Walk to your take-out restaurant to pick up lunch
- Stand instead of sitting during a conference call
- Talk a walk after you eat dinner
- Host a walking meeting
- Walk the airport corridors while waiting for takeoff
- Think Outside the Gym
When we decide it’s finally time to get in shape, what do we do? We typically join a gym, and maybe even hire a personal trainer. Despite our good intentions, 67% of people who have gym memberships never use them. Clearly, forking over an average of $58 per month doesn’t do the trick. The truth is, a lot of people hate going to the gym and look for excuses to avoid setting foot in their pre-paid health club.
Think Outside the Gym
Attitude adjustment: “Think outside the gym.” Broaden your horizons about what qualifies as “exercise.” The idea is to move your body regularly throughout the day. Lose the idea that the gym is the only place where exercise happens. A killer workout is not the goal. Rather, consistency is the key to staying healthy. There are endless ways to get your body moving. Find things that you like to do. Don’t force yourself to walk on the treadmill if it’s your version of hell on earth. You won’t stick with it for long.
Let me Count the Ways to “Exercise”
- Go dancing
- Dig in the garden
- Clean your house
- Take a class at a specialty gym: yoga, Pilates, kickboxing
- Go for a hike
- Ride your bicycle
With exercise snacks and frequent body movement, you will get healthy!