A Little Goes a Long Way

Now that we’re one month into the New Year, have you kept your promise to one very important person – yourself – to start a workout routine?   The benefits to your health and well-being are tremendous, and it’s never too late to start.

If you are not that active but want to get there, start by building physical activity into your life slowly. Begin at a comfortable level; once you get the hang of it, add a little more activity each time you exercise. Then, try doing it more often. Remember, any activity is better than no activity – even if you feel that you are not working out as vigorously as you should be, you are still doing your body tremendous good. Make exercise part of your daily routine; you are much more likely to keep up with activity if it becomes second nature.

What if I have health issues?

If you have a health problem, it is always a good idea to speak to your doctor about what type of activity is best for you before starting any exercise program.

How much exercise do I need?

You should do aerobic activity for at least 10 minutes at a time in order to achieve its full benefits. If you choose activities at a moderate level, such as walking fast or yard work, you should aim to get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of this every week. If you choose walkingvigorous activities, such as swimming laps, jogging or riding a bike on hills, get at least 1 hour and 15 minutes per week. Strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups and weightlifting, should be done at least 2 days a week. Focus on your upper body one day and your lower body the next.

Working out is boring. How can I make it fun?

Try incorporating things you enjoy into your workout routine. Climbing on a treadmill is not the only way to get in shape! You can take the dog for a run, swim laps, go hiking, play videogames that encourage fitness... anything that gets your heart beating faster counts as working out. Involve your family in physical activity – play Frisbee, kick around a soccer ball, build a snowman – and you will find that not only did you get a workout in, but time flew by as well.

I’m busy – I don’t have the time to work out.

“Not having the time” is the oldest excuse in the book. Try breaking up activity into shorter sessions of 10 minutes at a time. For example, go for a quick walk on your lunch break at work, or park far away the next time you go to the store. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Take your dog for a longer walk than usual. Carry multiple grocery bags into the house instead of one at a time. Do sit-ups or push-ups during commercial breaks while watching your favorite show. There are so many ways to incorporate extra physical activity into your day.

Additional wellness tips can be found at www.healthfinder.gov and www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional.