We all know exercise is important. Regular physical activity can help prevent chronic diseases, manage weight, improve mood, and even boost brain function. But despite the many benefits of exercise, many people struggle to fit it into their busy lives. One of our past blog posts says it best:
Physical activity is a wonder drug. If it was a pill, you’d buy it and take it every day. But even though activity is free, less than 25% of Americans meet the CDC recommendations for activity. We clearly need help.
As physical therapists, we often find ourselves educating patients on the importance of regular exercise. Every day we provide tips to our patients on fitting their home exercise program (HEP) into their routine. In this blog post, we’ll share some of those tips so that hopefully you can find ways to incorporate more exercise into your weekly routine.
Make it a priority
Many of us are guilty of putting everything else before exercise. Work, family, and social obligations often take precedence over physical activity. But remember, exercise is an investment in your health. So, make it a priority. Schedule it into your day like you would a meeting or appointment, and don’t let anything else take its place.
Find something you enjoy
Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, swimming, hiking, or playing a sport. When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick with it. This might take some time and it’s okay to experiment with different activities until something sticks. When you find the right activity, you’ll know it because you will look forward to the time you spend doing it and you’ll miss it when you don’t.
Many people make the mistake of setting unrealistic exercise goals, which only leads to frustration and giving up. Instead, start small. Aim for 10-15 minutes of exercise a day and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time.
Make it social
Find a friend or family member with similar health and activity goals. Join a gym or fitness class, or simply take a walk together. Exercising with a friend or family member can make it more enjoyable and keep you accountable. Accountability helps with consistency, and consistency is the key to unlocking the benefits of exercise.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or running on a treadmill. Get creative and find ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from your destination, or do some stretching while watching TV.
If you need a little inspiration to get started, here are 10 Ways to Turn Daily Activities Into Exercise and 5 Exercises That Require No Special Equipment.
Regular exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By making exercise a priority, finding something you enjoy, starting small, making it social, and getting creative, you can fit more physical activity into your weekly routine. Remember, every bit counts, so don’t be afraid to start small and gradually build up. With time, exercise can become a habit, and you may just find yourself looking forward to it. (gasp!)
So, get moving!