Think the only way to exercise is by spending hours in a gym or running marathons? Think again! Exercise is about moving your body. Even simple routine changes like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a big difference.
It is important to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Like eating well, physical activity helps you feel good. Being physically active may help you:
- Control your weight
- Build lean muscle
- Reduce your body fat
- Strengthen your bones
- Increase flexibility and balance
- Reduce your risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure
There are also emotional and social benefits associated with regular physical activity that can help you do better in school or at work, including:
- Improved self-esteem and mood
- Decreased feelings of anxiety and depression
- Enhanced teamwork skills through sports
Make Active Choices During Your Day
The key to lifetime fitness is simple: Find physical activities you enjoy and do them regularly. If you like what you do, you won’t be looking for excuses not to exercise.
For overall health, your best bet is to enjoy a wide variety of physical activities that bring a smile to your face and a bounce to your step. The more fun they are, the more likely you are to stick with them. Just follow the 30-10-5 rule: at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least 10 minutes at a time, at least five days a week. For best results, give your body what it deserves:
- Fun activities—because they are the ones that you’ll stick with!
- Aerobic activities like a brisk walk or dancing to get your heart pumping
- Body-shaping activities like lifting weights or even groceries to maintain muscles
- Stretching activities like water aerobics or gardening for flexibility and tone
- Balance activities like yoga or bike riding to strengthen bones and prevent falls
Tame the Tube
How much TV do you watch? If you are like many Americans, turning on the TV is the first thing you do in the morning and turning it off is the last thing you do before going to bed at night. Women who watch more TV are more likely to be overweight. Here are some tips to help you break the TV habit:
- Don’t keep the TV on all the time; tune into specific shows.
- Plan how much TV you are going to watch. Set clear limits for yourself.
- Tape your favorite shows and watch them later. This cuts down on TV time because you plan to watch specific shows instead of zoning out and flipping through the channels indefinitely.
- Replace after-school or after-work TV watching and video game use with physical activities. Get involved with activities at your school or in your community.
- Make a list of activities you want to do instead of watching TV.
- Get the TV out of the bedroom.
For more information on physical activity, you can also visit this section of the everywomannc.org.