Happy National Heart Month! If you’ve been looking for ways to improve your health, I’m sure you’ve heard diet and exercise time and time again. Our bodies were made to be in motion! Our lives are much more sedentary now (sitting in cars, sitting at desks, sitting on the couch streaming Netflix), so we are working against what our bodies were made to do. And as our schedules fill up, exercise is usually the first to go as we run out of time to do all the things on our to-do lists.
Yet, we need exercise and activity for heart health. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week. The best news is, though, that there are many, many ways to work activity into our daily routines, no matter how busy they are (or how much snow is on the ground)! And even if you have to break it up throughout the day, you will still see the benefits!
Ways to add activity into a busy schedule:
- Take the stairs. Start with one or two flights if you’re new to fitness, or start with one or two times per week if you’re not ready for more.
- Park at the edge of the lot. Adding a few more steps to your normal routine can help add activity to your day.
- No sitting during commercial breaks. While watching TV, make commercial breaks about activity! Do crunches, march in place, even dance to your favorite song – it all counts! Or, if you’re streaming something on Netflix, hit pause where there would normally be a commercial break and do a 60-second burst of activity.
- Take a walk. After dinner, after work, on your lunch break – consider adding a brief, brisk walk to your daily routine. This is one of the easiest, least expensive and least demanding activities you can do.
- Start small. Some activity is always better than no activity. Focus on what you CAN do, rather than what you think you NEED to do. Start with 2 or 3 days a week if you can, and build up as you feel stronger and more fit.
- Find something on demand. Many, many fitness options are available online for free or via inexpensive subscription services. YouTube is a great (free!) place to start searching!
- Walk and Talk. Whether you’re meeting a co-worker or on a call where you don’t need to reference anything, you can turn that in to an opportunity to get moving! You can stand at or walk around your desk, walk around the building with a co-worker or pace around your home.
And no matter what, some activity always trumps no activity! It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out session in the gym, it just has to get your heart pumping and get you moving for a few minutes at a time.