You know that exercise plays a critical role in healthy weight loss, but if you’re like many Americans, you may not be getting what you need to stay fit. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that most healthy adults get 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Ideally, you’ll get a combination of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity and strength training. Maintaining an active lifestyle will help you age more gracefully, lowering the risk of certain medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
If 75 to 150 minutes sounds like a lot of time, consider that this suggestion is based on a whole week. That means that you should get about half an hour of physical activity every weekday or about 20 minutes every day if you include weekends. If you work behind a desk, then try these tips for getting more out of your workday:
- Take a break every 20 minutes or so to stretch, move around or take a brief trek to the water cooler. Staying in one place for too long can negatively affect your health.
- Swap out your office chair for an exercise ball, which can help you strengthen your core and balance while you work.
The most important thing is to get and stay active on a regular basis. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a host of medical problems even if you get the recommended amount of daily activity.
Exercise Outside the Box
Walking, swimming, riding a bicycle and yoga are popular ways to work out, but they aren’t your only options. Think outside the box when it comes to physical activity. You’re more likely to stick with an exercise regimen if you enjoy what you’re doing. Try something new, such as rock climbing, kayaking, capoeira or horseback riding. Use the season to your advantage. In warmer months, take advantage of good weather to try outdoor activities. Colder months might keep you inside, but there are plenty of indoor exercises, especially high-aerobic dances.
Enlist the help of friends as you explore new activities. Having a partner to share the activity with will help you enjoy it even more, and it could keep you accountable to staying with it.
No Need for a Gym
You don’t need to join a gym to stay active. If your schedule is tight, then squeeze in a workout when you can. Even short, 10-minute walks three times a day can benefit your body. Use part of your lunch break to take a brisk stroll around your office building, or volunteer to walk the family dog in the morning. For yoga and other guided exercises, you can find videos online with full workouts to help you learn the basics. If funds allow, invest in a personal trainer to get the best bang for your buck. Working with someone one on one can give you a different perspective on your unique weight loss and exercise needs.