Exercise: Mind and Body

Posted: Apr 01 in Activity Recommendations by

12 Ways to Sneak More Activity into Your Day

If you think a gym workout offers your only regular chance to exercise, you need to explore the everyday opportunities to sneak more physical activity into your life. Try to incorporate even a few ideas into your daily or weekly schedule to boost your activity level.

  1. Go for a family walk after dinner.
  2. Whenever you drive, park your car as far away from the entrance as possible.
  3. Play with your kids in the backyard—shoot some hoops, play catch with a football, toss a Frisbee or even play tag.
  4. Record a yoga or other exercise program on TV, then participate in the comfort of your own home at a time that is convenient for you.
  5. Put on some after-dinner music and dance.
  6. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  7. Get a pedometer to track the number of steps you take each day. Set a goal to slowly increase your number of daily steps.
  8. Make an "activity date" with your family or friends once a week to do something fun and active together, such as ice skating, swimming, or cycling. Regularly rotate the activities.
  9. Pick up the pace around the house and in the yard as you vacuum, dust, rake and do other household chores.
  10. Plant a garden and regularly weed, fertilize and prune it.
  11. If you’ve got a dog, take him for a nightly walk. If you don’t own a dog, offer to walk your neighbor’s dog a few times a week.
  12. Ask your spouse or a neighborhood buddy to walk with you a few mornings each week before work.

Physical Activity Tailored to Your Personality

Before you get down on yourself about the lack of exercise you engage in, ask yourself how much you enjoy the type of exercise you typically choose. According to Bryant Stamford, PhD, Professor and Director of the Health Promotion Center at the University of Louisville, "The most important thing about exercise is consistency. So you need to choose things that are realistic, comfortable and that are going to inspire you to keep coming back." If you dread going to the gym, you may need to reconsider your exercise choices.

The key is getting away from the one-size-fits-all exercise idea. One of the best ways to find an exercise that will keep you motivated is to try to match an activity to your personality, Dr. Stamford says. Take a look at the chart below and pick an activity that brings you some enjoyment. Remember any amount of time doing the activity is a good starting point. And choosing something you like to do is more likely to motivate you to add a few more minutes next time.

Introverted Walking, Pilates, yoga, martial arts, swimming, home gym
Competitive Sports such as tennis, hockey, basketball
Extroverted Group activities such as golf, mall walking, hikes, public health club
Creative Dancing
Outdoor Enthusiast Hiking, in-line skating, mountain biking, ice skating, skiing or snowboarding

2007 Healthology, Inc.

Making Exercise a Routine

Motivation strikes! You go out and buy new sneakers, the latest trendy work out clothes, and joined the gym—not only a month-to-month membership, but a full year commitment! You figure that all the money you put into this exercise endeavor will surely keep you motivated. Yet, six months into the program, you find exercising at the bottom of your long To Do List. You’re not alone; many people who begin exercise programs drop out before the six-month mark.

Here are a few tips that may help you stay motivated and committed to your routine.

  1. Treat your workouts like a non-negotiable appointment. When your To Do List becomes longer and longer and time feels increasingly shorter and shorter, exercise may be the first thing to go. Classify exercise as a high priority—not last on the list or an optional appointment. Also, exercising on the same days at the same time will help your routine become a fixture in your life. Before you know it, not going to the gym will feel unusual.
  2. Set realistic and attainable goals. For example, "I will look like an athlete after two weeks of exercising" is not likely. Rather, set short-term goals as stepping-stones to your ultimate, long-term goals. For instance, be proud of yourself if you make it to the gym two or three times a week consistently for one month. Commitment can be very challenging and a great accomplishment to be proud of. As you attain each goal, you gain encouragement and further motivation.
  3. Find an exercise buddy whose goals and interests are similar to yours. A friend or family member cannot only make exercise more fun, but can also add that extra motivation you need and vice versa. Sometimes all you need is to hear your buddy say "Ready for the gym today?" and you’ll feel a renewed commitment and obligation.

If you’ve fallen out of your exercise routine, sit down and think about what caused your program to fail. Were you bored, have too many other commitments, or were the workouts too hard that you began to dread them? Try to create a new plan using the tips above. Remember, any amount of time exercising is a good starting point leading to a healthy, active, and rewarding lifestyle.

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