It can be challenging to make time for exercise. Life is busy and responsibilities take over. If you want to take better care of yourself by adding some exercise to your daily routine, there are many simple ways you can start. Being active has so many health benefits – not limited to physical benefits. According to Health Canada, regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of:
- premature death,
- coronary heart disease,
- colon cancer and breast cancer,
- type-2 diabetes, and
And there are just as many benefits for your overall well-being, as exercise helps to:
- boost self-esteem and energy levels,
- mitigate the effects of stress, and
- promote improved mental health.
Having trouble fitting in physical fitness?
Your busy life may leave you short on time for working out. It’s not always easy to put exercise on the schedule – and keep it there.
The secret? Use the time already blocked off in your schedule to get moving. Regular, longer workouts are ideal. But they aren’t the only way to reach your goals.
The Government of Canada recommends 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week. How you get to that figure is totally up to you.
Here are 5 ways to fit exercise into your daily routine.
1. Move every chance you get
You need to show your body and your metabolism that they are going to have to exercise on a regular basis. The body responds to consistent stimuli.
If you have only 15 or 20 minutes, 5 days a week, to move your body, do it!
The pandemic has changed our relationship with work and working out. Many people had to adjust to working from home. And many started working out at home when gyms were forced to close. Build on those experiences to fit some extra movement into your day-to-day activities.
It can be as simple as playing with your kids, going to the park or walking your dog.
And there’s no need to buy a lot of fancy equipment. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the house.
2. Create opportunities to move
Look for little opportunities where you can add some more movement to your day. For example:
- Use the stairs at home or at the office before you start work.
- Walk to the grocery store when you can.
- Stick with the pandemic habit of going for long walks with your friends, instead of going out to eat.
- Play outside with your kids instead of sending them out to play on their own.
3. Shake up your breaks
Using your break time at work to move your body can help boost your energy level and prevent injuries. According to Participaction, employees who are regularly active are consistently more productive than those who aren’t. You could think of your movement breaks as an investment rather than time wasted.
A few ideas for adding some movement to your day:
- Instead of sitting at your desk, walk while you take calls.
- Stretch between emails.
- At lunchtime, take 10 minutes and go for a walk around the block.
- Try active transportation like cycling or walking if you’re working in person at the office.
4. Find a buddy
Find someone to get active with. It could be a co-worker, a friend or a family member. Make a clear commitment together, such as going for a walk at noon 3 times a week. You’ll not only feel motivated, but also you won’t want to let your buddy down.
If you’re still working from home, suggest this to your co-workers anyway. They might appreciate the opportunity to move more.
Social networks are full of virtual groups of all types that can help you be more active. You’re not alone!
5. Change it up
While you’re committing to taking small steps to exercise every day, try to keep things interesting. Work on your upper body one day and your lower body the next. Alternate between cardio and strength training. Be active indoors one day, then go outside the next.
During the pandemic lockdowns, there’s been an explosion of online course offerings. There are virtual classes of every possible type, at all skill levels. Many are available free of charge within apps or on YouTube. A simple search is all it takes.
As gyms and community centres start reopening, take advantage of the opportunity to try a new activity. Or invite your friends to join you and see what happens. Who knows? You may just discover a whole new passion.
- Ready to get started? Check out the Lumino Health Fitness Guide.