Today’s modern world moves faster than ever. And while technology has us moving at a breakneck speed in most areas of life, being active is unfortunately not one of them.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showed that only 23% of adults between 18 and 64 are getting the recommended amount of exercise. That’s bad news since lack of exercise can lead to lots of problems, including the development of chronic diseases, like diabetes, and cognitive delcline. In addition, a more sedentary lifestyle may lead to obesity, a condition that can contribute to incontinence (among many other things).
What’s the recommended amount of movement you should be aiming for? Experts say that most people should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. It’s also recommended to add in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
The good news is it’s never too late to start. And adding in those workouts may be easier than you think.
Here are our 7 best ways to sneak more movement into your day:
1. Break up your workouts into chunks.
For starters, don’t feel like you have to do all your working out at once. Even breaking up your workouts into small 10-minute chunks throughout the day counts. Have a few minutes before your next conference call? Take a walk around the block, or try going up and down the stairs a few times. Running errands? Park your car in the furthest spot from the door to force yourself to walk even just a few more steps. Waiting for the microwave to heat up your dinner? Do 30-60 second bursts of squats or pushups. These activities may not seem like much on their own, but when you add them all up they can really make a difference.
2. Start a walking group.
Walking is one of the best low-impact workouts you can do. It’s easy, since you can do it pretty much anywhere, and you don’t really need any equipment – just grab your sneakers and get started. What’s more, walking with a buddy keeps you more engaged throughout the exercise and will make your “workout” as easy as catching up with a friend. (Plus, you’ll get the emotional boost of some good social interaction!). Click here for tips on how to set up a walking group.
3. Find an active hobby you love.
Going to the gym not your thing? You don’t have to commit to a grueling workout that you hate. Try something different! Take up a tennis class, try your hand at golfing, or invest in a new bike. There are no hard rules for how you get your workout in, just find a way to move. Bonus: if you love doing it, you’ll be more inclined to continue.
4. Try an alternative workout.
Maybe you’re bored with your normal gym. Or you’re starting to feel unchallenged or unmotivated by what you’ve been doing. There are tons of new gyms out there that focus on new types of workout. Orange Theory, CorePower Yoga, Barre Workouts, Crossfit, Boxing Gyms, or even Dance Centers (tap dancing anyone?) are all different types of workouts that you might consider trying. Do a google search for what exists in your area and give one of them a call. Many of these gyms offer a free trial period so that you’re able to check it out a few times before committing.
5. Think outside the box.
Try thinking of alternatives to your normal routine in order to work in more exercise. Do you have a standing meeting with a colleague at work? Try turning it into a walking meeting and talk while you walk. Do you live close enough to walk or bike to the grocery store? Make it a habit to schedule that into your weekly routine. Feel like you just really cant squeeze anything in? Try waking up 10 minute early in the morning to fit in a few rounds of weight-bearing exercises or to take a quick walk around the block.
6. Work up to it.
It may feel daunting to jump straight into a workout routine if you’re not used to it. But you don’t have to do it all at once. Start slowly with just a few minutes per day, then work up to more time as you’re able to. Giving your body (and, let’s face it, your mind) time to catch on may make a regular workout routine easier to stick to.
7. Make it a family (or friend) affair.
Working out with a group can be motivating since you’re held more accountable than if you’re just on your own. Try getting your family involved by scheduling in regular family activities. Start taking a nightly walk after dinner with the kids. Go for hikes on the weekends. Bike to the park and get in a good jungle gym workout. Get a group of friends together to try a new workout class or gym. The best part? By getting your loved ones involved, you’ll be helping each other live a healthier life. And if you have kids, you’ll be instilling in them the importance of exercise and staying fit – something that will hopefully stay with them their whole life.
Finding a workout you can commit to will do more than help you lose weight. Staying active may help prevent chronic conditions, will give you more energy, increase your muscle tone, and help your stability, which can be especially important as you age. And, you’ll be helping your mind stay sharp while also staving off mental conditions like depression. We’d call those pretty good reasons to make working out a priority.
So get moving! Start small (anything is better than nothing!) and use some of the tips listed above to sneak in extra movement to your day.
(Note: It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. Need help finding a specialist? Click here to use our specialist locator tool!)