Fitting Fitness Into a
By now you know that exercise is good for you, and that you should do something on a regular basis, like walking. What's the best time for you to exercise? Anytime. Honestly.
A healthy exercise program includes muscular strengthening, flexibility training and plenty of aerobic exercise such as walking. You can start your walking program without investing in any elaborate equipment except a good, comfortable pair of shoes.
Walking Can Be Fun
Even on a busy schedule, you can find creative ways to make time for walking. If you can fit two 10-minute sessions in during the day, it will benefit you almost as much as one 20-minute session. Updated guidelines from the US Department of Health and Human Services (2008), the American Heart Association and American College of Sports Medicine (2007) state that moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking can be performed in 10 minute bouts for improved health. You just need to fit in a total of 2 Ĺ hours over the course of a week.
- You can easily accomplish 10-15 minute sessions with things like walking around the neighborhood after work, walking to a lunch spot thatís ten minutes away or heading to the corner store for a few items. Instead of seeking out the closest spot, save time, frustration and gas by parking farther away from your destination and using the time and energy to walk. Or, if you take the bus, get off a stop earlier and take a brisk walk.
- To catch up with an old friend, schedule a walk together. Itís a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while youíre enjoying each otherís company. Chances are that youíll be so focused on the conversation that youíll walk farther than you planned.
- Do you or your friend have a pet? If so, volunteer to be the official dog walker and everyone gets more exercise Ė including the dog!
- During the work day, take the long way to the copier, restroom, or walk over to speak to someone instead of calling. Instead of a coffee break, take a 10 minute walk break! Youíll burn a few extra calories and prevent stiffness.
- Discuss business plans with colleagues while going for a short walk instead of sitting at a desk. Develop a new corporate culture of "walking meetings".
- Walking is a great way to get errands done if you live or work in an area close to your destination. Youíll save gas and wear-and-tear on your car while youíre burning more calories and getting in shape.
- On weekends, take a walk together to reconnect with your family members. If the kids want to go to the park or a friendís house, walk to get there.
- Turn shopping into an aerobic activity. Shopping is walking, so don't stop for 10 minutes straight and you've worked in one of your daily sessions! Check with your local mall for mall walker programs, and you'll have company.
- Walking is definitely good for cardiovascular health and fitness. And here's something else you'll like: it can help you lose weight or keep the weight off once youíve lost it. If weight loss is your goal, you must progress to walking longer and harder while reducing your calorie intake with healthy food choices.
Make Time to Stretch
Flexibility training can reduce stiffness and promote fluid movement during walking and other activities. Stretching or range-of-motion exercises can be done just about anywhere, anytime - for example, while youíre at your desk or on the phone. Some stretching can even be done while waiting in line. Minimize back and joint stiffness by getting up from the computer and stretching/moving frequently during the day.
Television commercial breaks are about two to two-and-a-half minutes long, so this can be enough time for a good set of stretches. Stretch to the point of mild tension and hold it for 10-30 seconds.
Is One Time Better Than Another to Exercise?
It's really up to you. You can walk in the morning, afternoon or evening. Consider your personal schedule and energy level. Lunch breaks offer an excellent opportunity to get out of the office and exercise. Use your coffee break to take a short walk around the office. Get rid of the day's stress by fitting in a quick walk after work.
Whatever time you choose, make sure you stick with it. For some people, it's easier to stay with an exercise program when you do it with a friend or co-worker.
Make Time to Stay Healthy
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself, so donít put it off for another day. Just a few small changes can lead to big results if you stay consistent. You will be glad you did.