Family Living Focus: Fitting physical activity into your day

Like most people, you’ve probably heard that regular exercise and physical activity are good for you. However, your days are filled with family, work, errands, volunteering, and any number of other important activities. Where’s the time for physical activity? Here are a few tips to help you fit exercise and physical activity into your day.

Seize every opportunity to be active. Going shopping? Park at the far end of the lot and walk briskly to the store entrance. Take a few extra minutes to walk the entire mall or every aisle of the grocery store. (Be sure to pat yourself on the back when you resist temptation in the candy aisle!) Need to talk with a colleague at work? Don’t call or e-mail. Walk down the hall or take the stairs to her office. Waiting for the coffee to brew in the morning? Do a few wall push-ups.

Do the things you enjoy and pick up the pace a bit. If you love the outdoors, explore local hiking or biking trails. If music is your passion, listen while you do yard work or give dancing lessons a try. Make a social occasion with family or friends an active occasion. Meet to play basketball or walk your dogs together.

To get the most out of exercise and physical activity, they need to be a regular part of your life. Here are some tips to help you put physical activity at the top of your “to do” list every day.

Make it a priority. Remember that being active is one of the most important things you can do each day to maintain and improve health. Try being active first thing in the morning before you get too busy.

Make it easy. You are more likely to exercise if it’s a convenient part of your day.

Walk the entire mall or every aisle of the grocery store when you go shopping.

Join a gym that’s close to your home and easy to get to.

Take one or more flights of stairs up and two down.

Make it social. Many people agree that an “exercise buddy” keeps them going.

Take a walk during lunch with coworkers.

Try a dance class–salsa, tango, square dancing–it’s up to you.

Make it fun. Do things you enjoy, but pick up the pace a bit. If you love the outdoors, try biking or hiking. Listen to music while you garden or wash the car.

Make it happen. Choose to be active in many places and many ways.

Get off the bus one or two stops early and walk the rest of the way.

Do toe-stands or wall push-ups while you’re waiting for your spouse to get ready to go out.

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Information adapted from article from Go4Life, National Institute on Aging at National Institute of Health.

If you would like more information on “Fitting Physical Activity into Your Day” feel free to contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus – University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.

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