Daily exercise can seem like an impossible task with everything else that needs to be accomplished, especially on a busy work day. And, if you think that only getting to the gym and working out for an hour counts, or a 6 mile run, or 15 mile bike ride, it can be overwhelming. But fitting in the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week does not have to be daunting.
The chart above gives some simple ways to add exercise into daily life. The first three options done daily, would likely cover most of the recommended daily movement. Add in a dog walk around the neighborhood and you’d be there (borrow a dog if need be!) But currently, only about 5% of Americans get this amount of exercise. Looked at in a different way, about 1/3 of Americans get 150 minutes or more of exercise each week, which is better, but also means a lot of folks are weekend warriors.
Health Risks of Inactivity
For those who have desk jobs, the health risks are real. There is a higher chance of being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and experiencing depression and anxiety. The human body was made to move, and when we sit for the majority of the day, many of our operating systems don’t work as well. Circulation suffers, your cardiovascular system declines, your muscles weaken, and even your energy levels drop.
Lack of exercise leads to over 3 million preventable deaths a year. Many are from types of cancer that have a relationship with inactivity (breast, colon, uterine, and lung among others). Cardiac disease, high blood pressure, and stroke are all more prevalent in inactive people. Type 2 diabetes is also more common in sedentary people.
Fitting in Daily Activity
So, even on the busiest of days, try to find some time to move. Get that 7 minute workout in before your morning shower, take a walk at lunch and/or after dinner, use the soccer practice time to walk, run, bike, or do a simple bodyweight workout. At work, stand up and walk whenever you are talking on the phone. Take the stairs to your office, park farther away from the door, and set an alarm to get up at least every hour to stretch. Put your trash can away from your desk so you have to get up to throw something away.
All the little things add up to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of disease. And then, try to make a habit of some type of regular exercise that you enjoy and find an exercise partner. Research shows that those who work out with others tend to be more consistent than those who work out alone. Together, you can take a stand against inactivity today!