Most people have heard plenty of times how important exercise is for good health. Unfortunately, those words now seem to fall on deaf ears, as less than one in four people actually meet the recommended amount of exercise per week.
So many are "too busy", "too tired", or "too broke" to begin, and stick with, an exercise program. For every fact I can cite about why exercise is so important, I have met with an equal number of "reasons" why someone is unable to add exercise to their daily life.
Lack of time is almost always the fallback "reason" someone gives for not exercising. Long hours at work, family schedules, household duties, and other commitments leave little time for exercise. All of these things also contribute to the exhaustion many feel, leaving them "too tired" to exercise in between all of their other daily tasks.
Exercise is essential to good health, but it is not an all or nothing proposition. The sedentary lifestyle that most Americans have adopted is contributing to the rising numbers of chronic disease and obesity and is diminishing the quality of daily life for many people. Activities that were once fun are now exhausting; basic household tasks are physically draining; and anything that challenges our strength or endurance has become a threat to our physical "health", risking sore, strained muscles and possibly an injury.
I am sure you know of many examples of someone (maybe you?) who threw out their back getting groceries out of their trunk; or developed a nagging ache in their elbow after opening a jar; or has unexplained knee pain that won't subside.
Lack of physical activity has left our bodies susceptible to injuries, aches, and pains just from performing basic, human movements and tasks.
Making time to fit exercise into your daily life may seem impossible, but it doesn't have to be. More and more studies have shown that even small doses of exercise throughout the day can have a big impact on your overall health. Ten minute mini-sessions throughout the day can add up, and offer benefits similar to a single, 30-minute session.
Small doses of exercise throughout the day can improve circulation, help retain bone density, reduce some chronic disease risk factors, increase range of motion, and can help manage depression and/or anxiety.
Those who are already working out and faithfully hit the gym every day can also benefit from 10-minute movement breaks. Sitting for long periods at a time often leads to muscle imbalances, poor posture, and poor circulation. Taking the time to add some short burst of movement can negate some of the impact too much sitting has on your body.
Where do you begin? Right where you are! Determine what you can do with what is available to you. Are you working at an office and stuck at your desk for the day? Set a timer and get up and walk around for 10 minutes every hour. Sitting at home watching TV? March in place during commercials. Talking on the phone? Get up and pace.
Be creative with your time and use it wisely. Decide to walk around for a few minutes rather than check your social media account again, park a little further from the entrance when you get to work or go to the store, get up and move around for awhile rather than binge-watch some series on TV.
Small doses of exercise can have a big impact on how you feel, how you function, and, most importantly, how you live.
What's your next Move?
Every little bit counts and it all adds up to a better, healthier you. So get moving, "For the Health of It!".