Building Exercise Into Your Day
By guest blogger Terrina Thomas, Director of Health & Preventive Services, Optima Health
Exercise—for some of us it is the dreaded “e” word! Many folks hear the word exercise and they immediately turn to their magic bag of excuses (another “e” word if I may add). Excuses include:
- No one can watch my children.
- I’m too tired after work.
- My _____ (enter body part here) hurts.
- I tried to exercise once then _______ (enter bad story about a twisted ankle, scrapped up elbow, near death experience) happened.
Many times—usually in January—we decide to become healthier and join a gym, eat a bunch of salad and go to bed earlier. That works for about a week or two if we are dedicated. Then, week three finds us on the couch, with an ice pack on the knee, bag of chips in one hand and the TV remote in the other hand.
Instead, there should be a gradual start to exercise. Start by adding physical activity into your daily routine. Start by parking further from the door instead of circling the parking lot waiting for the “good” spot up front. Take the elevator going up and the stairs coming down. After a couple of weeks, take the stairs both ways.
Lunchtime walks will get you away from your desk and out in the fresh air. If you work at a desk or in a position that you don’t change very often, set a timer to go off every 20 or 30 minutes to remind yourself to stand up for 30 seconds to stretch, relax your eyes and take some deep breaths.
There should also be a gradual start to healthier eating. Set some goals for each week. If you do not drink any water now, add one glass per day then work up to water being the majority of your liquid intake every day.
Consider the quantity of fruits and vegetables in your diet. If you do not eat five servings each day, incorporate one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables for the first week and build from there. It really can be easy to make changes that will have a big impact.
As you become better at these daily changes, don’t be satisfied with “good enough.” Challenge yourself to drink more water; eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less red meats and fatty foods and eliminate fast food. At the same time, find more ways to incorporate activity into your daily routine. Before you know it, you will be feeling better, have more energy and weigh less!
Tell us how you have made changes that have had an impact on your health. Share recipes and meal ideas. Give us your tips for exercising during the workday or after the kids have gone to bed and more.