To be physically inactive is as damaging to your health as smoking cigarettes. According to the Physical Activity Council’s annual study that tracks sports, fitness and recreation participation in the U.S., up to 27.5 percent people ages 6 and older did not participate in any physical activity in 2016. Decline in physical activity has led to a steep increase in the rates of obesity and chronic illnesses. Experts say that one of the main reasons for this could be busy lifestyles which make it difficult for people to find time to work out. The crux of the problem is that many busy people tend to see exercise as an impractical burden makes their life more complicated.
The benefits of regular exercise are endless. It can improve every aspect of our health, decrease cardiovascular risk, help manage stress, improve mood, delay dementia, ease chronic pain, and much more. No matter how busy you are, it’s important that you exercise to stay fit. Here are some fitness strategies for people with a busy lifestyle:
- Brisk walking: You don’t have to go to the gym for a strenuous workout. Experts say that moderate physical activity such as brisk walking can promote health nearly as much as vigorous workouts. Any physical activity counts and your goal should to avoid prolonged periods of inactivity. Make sure that you break up your exercise into three or four 10-15 minute chunks. You can spend ten minutes taking a walk, climbing some stairs, doing some pushups, core work, or stretching. Simply stand up from your desk every half-hour and stretch, and maybe walk around your office.
- Take stairs wherever possible: Use stairs instead of the elevator or escalator as often as possible. When at home, take the stairs to the second floor as often as you can. For variety, take the stairs two at a time, or step up the pace.
- Play with your children: While at home, switch off your TV and spend more time playing with your children. This will help you to bond with your kids as you get some exercise. You can go hiking in a nearby nature reserve or go for a walk in the town park, and even dance around the living room with your kids’ favorite songs, jump on the trampoline, or run with them while they practice bike riding.
- Keep track of your personal activity: Keep track of your activity and your progress with a wearable step-counter. This is a great option to keep you moving as it can increase your motivation through feedback.
- Aim for balance: Remember to fit in exercises that benefit your body as a whole. You don’t necessarily need to achieve all your goals every day, but make sure you take time to address all of your fitness needs over the course of a week.
- Listen to your body: Respect your body’s capabilities. Don’t push yourself too hard and do anything that doesn’t feel right. Listen to your body and plan healthy activities that you will enjoy, and avoid those that will stress you out.
According to a recent Harvard Health article, the U.S. government has provided longstanding guidance on amount and type of physical activity, based on the evidence. It is recommended that, for substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably be spread throughout the week.