Exercise is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. When coupled with a healthy diet, exercise puts men and women on a path toward optimal health while reducing risk for a host of ailments, including diabetes.
But many people find they simply don’t have the time to exercise regularly. Commitments to career and family can be demanding and time-consuming, and exercise is often a casualty of a hectic schedule.
Though getting to the gym every day or even making use of exercise equipment at home on a daily basis may not be feasible, that doesn’t mean people still can’t find ways to incorporate a little exercise into their daily routines. The following are a few simple ways to fit more exercise into your day no matter how busy you may be.
• Avoid the elevator, and attack the stairs. The elevator may be inviting, but it’s also somewhat of an enabler. Instead of taking the elevator up to your office each day, take the stairs, and take them with more gusto than you’re used to. Rather than taking one step at a time, take the stairs two by two, lifting your legs high as you scale each pair of steps. This helps build your leg muscles and makes the daily climb up the staircase a little more strenuous.
• Turn TV time into treadmill time. Watching a little television at night is how many people relax and unwind, but it can be a great time to squeeze in some daily exercise as well. Opinions as to what’s the best time of day to exercise vary, and no definitive study exists to suggest one time of day is better than another. People who like to relax with a little television time at night should make the most of that time by hitting the treadmill, elliptical machine or exercise bike instead of just plopping down on the couch. Add a television to your home’s exercise room or purchase a gym membership where the cardiovascular machines are connected to televisions. You will still get to enjoy your favorite shows while simultaneously getting the benefit of exercise.
• Say “bon voyage” to the conference room. Professionals who spend lots of time in meetings can add a simple twist that incorporates exercise into a typical business meeting. Rather than conducting the meeting in a conference room, propose a walking meeting when possible. A walking meeting is the same as a standard business meeting, but it’s conducted on foot outside of the office. Walking meetings can provide some much-needed energy for you and your fellow staff members, who may appreciate the chance to get out from behind their desks and stretch their legs while still getting work done. Take your smartphones or tablets along to jot down important ideas, just like you would in a more traditional meeting. And make the most of your walk by leaving time for some light stretching before and after the meeting. Chances are you will return to your desk reenergized and glad you found a way to get some exercise despite of a busy schedule.
• Park far away when shopping. It’s tempting and almost human nature to hunt for the parking spot closest to the door when shopping at the mall or even the grocery store. But for those who want to include more exercise in their daily routines, parking far away from the entrance to your favorite store is a great way to incorporate more walking into your life. Walking is a simple yet effective cardiovascular exercise, one that the Mayo Clinic notes can lower your blood pressure and manage your weight while lowering your low-density lipoprotein, which is commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. In fact, research has indicated that regular, brisk walking can be just as effective at lowering a person’s risk of heart attack as more vigorous exercise, including jogging. When parking far away from the entrance, just make sure you park in a well-lit area where others can easily see or hear you.
Many adults find they simply don’t have the time to commit to routine exercise. But there are several simple ways to incorporate exercise into your existing routine without taking time from your already busy day.