Studies show that adding 150 minutes of moderate exercise to
your week helps prevent many diseases, maintain strength and flexibility, and
relieve the headaches and muscle spasms that result from working too long in
the same position at a desk.
Those 150 minutes amount to the length of one movie, or 30
minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. The secret is to make physical
activity part of your daily routine. It becomes even more important as you get
Here is how you can develop this healthy habit:
- Take inventory. For one week, write down all the times you are active during the day to identify areas where you can add your 150 minutes of exercise.
- Choose to be active. Use stairs instead of an elevator. Walk or ride a bike instead of driving short distances. Carry your shopping bags to the car. Park at the opposite end of the shopping center. Go bowling or mini-golfing with
friends instead of to a movie.
- Play with your children or grandchildren. Splash in the pool, chase them around the playground, play catch, ride bikes, or shoot some hoops.
- Get a dog.
- Do it yourself. Vacuum carpets, wash windows, do yard work, wax your car, mow the lawn, rake leaves, and mop floors yourself. Use a push mower instead of a riding mower.
- Stand up; walk around while you talk on the phone or watch TV. Step it up; while you watch TV, grab a can of soup or a light weight. Raise and lower your arms as you walk up and down. Keep a resistance band or weights next to the TV. Jump up and move around during commercials.
- Walk. A quick trip around the block is a refreshing break. Explore the beautiful parks and trails in our area. Observe the plants and wildlife, and enjoy the seasonal changes. Daylight savings allows time for an evening walk at a nearby park, through downtown, or in an interesting neighborhood. When it's too hot to be outside, browse through a big box store or walk in the mall.
- Learn some exercise routines. Borrow exercise DVDs from the library, or watch a workout on TV or on your computer. YouTube has hundreds of short exercise videos. Try yoga, Pilates, and dance for beginners. Find some moves you
enjoy, and create your own short routine that you can do any time.
- Stretch. Do gentle stretching when you wake up, when you get home, or before you go to bed at night.
- Swim several times a week. Join a community pool if you do not have one.
- Get a pedometer. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. If you like technology, get a monitor that tracks your movements during the day, or use phone apps to log your activity.
- Dance. Dance to your favorite music. Join a dance class, or go dancing with friends.
- Include your spouse, your children, or a friend in your activities. You are more likely to commit to an activity if someone else is involved and it is part of his or her weekly routine too. You will both enjoy the companionship.
The greatest gift you can give yourself is 150 minutes of exercise every week.