4 Easy Ways to Get More Exercise
Regular physical activity is one of the best things we can do for our health.
It keeps our bodies strong and helps prevent a host of diseases—including
heart disease, the leading cause of death in America. In fact, exercise,
along with a healthy diet and regular screenings, plays an essential role
in heart health. February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to
take care of your ticker by adding more physical activity to your weekly
routine. Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. Our wellness
experts have brainstormed a few easy ways to make exercise one item on
your to-do list you can actually check off.
Reschedule your workout.
If you’ve spent years trying to go to the gym before or after work
with no lasting success, maybe it’s time to try a different approach.
Consider asking your boss if you can come in half an hour early each day—then,
combine that time with your typical lunch break and use it for a quick,
yet efficient workout: 30 minutes at the gym, a run, a noon yoga class.
Arriving at work early gives you just enough time to work out and get
presentable for work again—while leaving your mornings and evenings
free for family, responsibilities and hobbies.
Ditch your office chair.
Many of us spend hours sitting in an office chair each day. Hours that
leave our muscles relatively disengaged and stiff. Swapping your office
chair for an exercise stability ball is one genius way to capture those
precious hours and put them to work for you. The ball works because it
is dynamic, not static like your desk chair. As it moves, your body engagescore
stabilizing muscles, making constant, tiny adjustments and using whole
muscle groups to keep your body balanced and your posture straight.
(People with existing back pain or back conditions should not switch to
a stability ball without talking to your doctor.)
There never seems to be enough time for the gym—yet, somehow, it’s
easy to get wrapped up in a new TV show every night. So make your TV habit
good for you, not just a guilty pleasure. Instead of binge-watching your
latest Netflix find, make a deal with a friend or significant other that you willonly watch a certain show while exercising together. No cheating! Whether you
queue up a true crime drama on the elliptical at the gym or simply knock
out some squats, planks and sit-ups in front of your home TV, attaching
and accountability to regular exercise helps you keep it up.
Take the long way
In the interest of efficiency and multi-tasking, most of us shortcut our
way through life—and shortchange ourselves on daily opportunities
for activity. Life is full of brief interludes for exercise if we’re
looking for them. These moments may seem small and their impact negligible—but
if you commit to seizing them when you can, their impact really adds up.
Here are just a few ideas for making the most of tiny slots of time:
- Flex and relax your abs for 10 seconds at a time waiting in lines.
- Do a couple sets of squats while brushing your teeth.
- Take the stairs, every single time.
- Add sprints to the beginning and end of your walk when you take the dog out.
- Use shopping bags instead of a cart while you shop—free weightlifting!
- Spend five minutes immediately after you get out of bed and before you
get in it doing just one exercise (lunges, sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks, etc.).
Taking care of your heart is important—especially here in Gaston
County, where cardiovascular disease affects thousands of us. Now is the
time to be proactive about prevention: increase your physical activity,
embrace a healthy diet and talk to your doctor about regular cardiovascular
screenings. You—and your loved ones—deserve it.