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9 Ways to Make Fitness Part of Your Life

Squeeze in activity throughout the day and reap the benefits!

By John Welsh, Contributing Writer

One of the most important aspects of an exercise program is simply starting it. Getting off the couch or out of your seat to start walking, running, bicycling, swimming or other activity may help you lead a healthier and happier life.

Experts say you should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Those activities can include walking briskly, gardening, bicycling slowly or even ballroom dancing.

 

But you don’t have to do it all at one time — go ahead and break your activity up into 10-minute chunks for health benefits. And make sure to include muscle-strengthening activities. Aim to do exercises that hit the major muscle groups at least two days a week.

If you’re pregnant, physically inactive or have a health condition such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or increasing your activity level. He or she can tell you what types and amounts of activities are safe for you.

Tips to get help get you started
Start slow and choose a physical activity that is appropriate for your current fitness level. And increase your activity over time. Here are some tips for fitting fitness into your life:

Add steps to your day. Park farther away from the entrance or get off the bus one stop earlier. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Develop new routines. Perhaps you can take the dog for a daily walk. Or maybe go to the park with your kids after dinner. Do you have a green thumb? Perhaps you can start a garden.

Find a workout buddy. Exercising with a friend can be more fun and a good motivator.

Keep exercise clothes at work. You can change into them before heading home or to the gym. And have a comfortable pair of shoes so you can walk during breaks.

Schedule fitness. If you put exercise on your calendar like other appointments, you're more likely to do it.

Clean up. Both housework and doing work in the yard can count as physical activity, too.

Double up. Move while you watch TV. Why not watch and stretch? Or during commercials, try getting up off the couch and marching in place.

Sign up for a class. Aerobics, yoga or social dancing are just a few of the many choices.

Keep it fun. Making physical activity enjoyable is key in making it a regular part of your life.

Sources:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. Accessed: February 13, 2017.
American College of Sports Medicine. Reducing sedentary behaviors: Sitting less and moving more. Accessed: February 13, 2017.
ChooseMyPlate.gov.Physical activity. Tips for increasing physical activity. Accessed: February 13, 2017.
Weight-control Information Network. Tips to help you get active. Accessed: February 13, 2017.

Updated February 14, 2017