Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The E word

Exercise makes me feel great, but there are times when my lack of motivation (aka laziness) takes hold. So anytime I find some tips for squeezing esercise into my life, I read them with gusto.

These tipes come from Everyday Health, and some of the advice is so basic, I thought I would pass it on. But first, a recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) for healthy adults: We need to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity spread out over five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on each of three days a week. An ideal fitness routine also includes resistance or weight training to improve muscle strength and endurance at least twice a week.

Here are some suggestions:

Be less efficient. For example, bring in the groceries from your car one bag at a time so you have to make several trips. Put the laundry away a few items at a time, rather than carrying it up in a basket.

Shun labor-saving devices. Wash the car by hand rather than taking it to the car wash. Anywhere you go, take the long way. Walk up or down a few flights of stairs each day can be good for your heart. Avoid elevators and escalators. If you ride the bus or subway to work, get off a stop before your office and walk the extra distance. When you go to the mall or the grocery store, park furthest from the entrance, not as close to it as you can, and you'll get a few extra minutes of walking.

Be a morning person. Studies show that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with it. It also sets a positive tone for the day.

Ink the deal. Whether morning, afternoon or evening, pick the time that is most convenient for you to exercise and write it down in your daily planner. Keep your exercise routine as you would keep any appointment.

Watch your step. Investing in a good pedometer can help you stay motivated. Start small and build up to 10,000 steps a day.

Hire the right help. While weight training is important, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you run the risk of injuring yourself or not being effective. It’s best to get instructions from a personal trainer at the gym. You also can buy a weight-training DVD and follow along in your living room.

Keep records. Grab a diary or logbook, and every day that you exercise, write down what you did and for how long. Your records will make it easy for you to see what you’ve accomplished and make you more accountable.

Phone a friend. Find someone who likes the same activity that you do — walking in the neighborhood, riding bikes, playing tennis — and make a date to do it together. You'll keep the date and the time will go by so much faster.

Do what you like. Whatever exercise you choose, be sure it’s one that you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with it if it’s something you have fun doing rather than something you see as a chore.

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