Tips for Incorporating Physical Activity Into Your Busy Schedule
“Get plenty of exercise.”
It’s great advice. But what exactly does it mean?
According to the American Heart Association, the Department of Health and Human Services and other sources, most adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. That’s about 30 minutes, five days a week. Abdelkader Almanfi, MD, Director of the Structural Heart Program and Catheterization Labs with ThedaCare Cardiovascular Care, provides a few simple suggestions for working regular exercise into our busy schedules.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
“You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment. There many ways to get some exercise without even calling it a workout,” said Dr. Almanfi. “There are plenty of benefits besides helping keep your heart and body strong.”
Dr. Almanfi explained that some of the benefits including looking and feeling better. It’s also good for your mental health. In fact, regular exercise has been shown to help reduce depression.
“Staying physically active is one of the best things you can do for your heart and your overall health, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing,” said Dr. Almanfi. “Whatever your age, regular exercise should be part of healthy living. If you haven’t been active in a while or if you have a health condition, talk to your doctor before you get started.”
“Whatever your age, regular exercise should be part of healthy living. If you haven’t been active in a while or if you have a health condition, talk to your doctor before you get started.”
Sources of Motivation
Here are some ideas to get more physical activity into your life:
Turn on some tunes. Put on your favorite lively music and dance like no one’s watching. (You might want to make sure no one’s really watching, depending on your skill level.) Three or four songs is usually about 10 minutes, so you don’t have to watch the clock.
Join the kids outside. Instead of sending the kids or grandkids outside to play, go with them. Play some tag, skip rope, throw a frisbee or just run around like a kid for a while.
Get a dog (or borrow one). Walking or playing with man’s best friend counts as exercise and it is fun for both of you.
Watch TV from an exercise bike. Can’t miss the latest episode of your favorite show? Instead of being a couch potato, do some pedaling. If you’re just getting started, try pedaling during commercial breaks instead of skipping them or heading for fridge.
Start a family tradition. Take a walk together a couple times a week instead of watching a movie or playing a board game.
Make it a date. Instead of meeting for dinner, coffee or drinks, do some hiking, go ballroom dancing or play a game of tennis or racquetball.
“When you’re busy with work, family and other responsibilities, it’s easy to forget to exercise or to say ‘I’ll do it later,” said Dr. Almanfi. “Instead of thinking of it as one more chore you have to do, find ways to incorporate physical activity into your life. Once it becomes a habit, you won’t be as likely to forget or make excuses. There are so many ways to stay active; you just need to find something that works for you.”