Want to move more? Follow these easy tips!
By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD
In addition to eating healthy meals with a balance of macronutrients, incorporating regular movement is key to losing weight. Changes to your diet alone can help you shed pounds, but increasing your activity level accelerates weight loss and provides additional health benefits. Exercise can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as improve overall heart health.
When most people think of increasing their physical activity, they may imagine intense cardio workouts or hours at the gym. As a result, they may feel intimidated or discouraged by the idea of exercise.
However, engaging in more physical activity does not mean you have to work out multiple times a week for hours on end. The American Heart Association currently recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week for overall heart health. To achieve this goal, there are several ways you can move more just by modifying your everyday routines.
A few easy ways to include more movement in your day include:
Taking the Stairs
This may seem obvious, but in the hustle and bustle of a busy work day, stairs are often forgotten. To start moving more at work, make a point to take the stairs upon your arrival. When you have meetings on different floors, set a calendar reminder to leave five minutes earlier so that you can take the stairs.
You can also move more at work by walking to a coworker’s desk instead of sending an email. You will get some extra steps AND enjoy more human interaction by chatting in person.
Exercising While Watching TV
At the end of a busy day, most of us relax by winding down in front of the TV. Make the most out of this everyday routine by incorporating some movement. Simple exercises include lunges, lifting weights, jumping jacks, and crunches. Try a new exercise at every commercial to get in a variety of movements.
Parking Farther Away
Do you have a never-ending to-do list and tons of errands to run? Get some extra steps by parking farther away from stores and other places you need to go. You can also take a few laps inside a grocery store or mall before making your purchases!
Setting Reminders to Move
If you cannot fit in longer periods of walking or exercise, dividing up your movement into small intervals may help. Using a calendar reminder or phone alarm, take a few minutes to walk around and stretch every hour. These hourly reminders can help even the busiest individuals prioritize movement. Plus, you may even feel more focused and alert when you return to your task at hand!
Scheduling Workouts as Appointments
Just like you schedule meetings and social events in your calendar, block off time for exercise. Consider signing up for a new workout class to motivate yourself to commit to a certain date and time. Even if you only have time for 15 minutes of walking, make an appointment on your daily schedule.
Incorporating these easy tips is a great way to start moving more! Taking small steps is an effective way to reach your overall goal of increasing physical activity.
Note from Healthy for Life Meals: Fitting in more exercise is just one aspect of achieving your health or weight loss goals. Our mission is to take the work, and the guesswork, out of the other major factor: healthy eating. When you get started with one of our meal plans, you will receive delicious, balanced dishes without the stress, and best of all, free of supplements and gimmicks! Feel your best with nutritious, real food.
American Heart Association. 2017. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WnNA8lQ-cWo