Sunday, December 9, 2007

How to add exercise to your daily routine

Appraising Your Success
The end of the week is a good time to review the past week of your SWEET Life and count up your accomplishments. Your goal is 5-6 times per week for each aspect of the SWEET Life: Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise, and Tranquility. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals for the week, then next week, focus on those areas more and think about how to fulfill them more consistently.
How do you feel at the end of this week? Are you better rested? Do you feel relaxed? Are you more energetic? Do you feel generally healthier? Continue with the SWEET Life and you’ll experience all of these feelings!

Topic of the week -- How to add exercise to your daily routine

If you don’t have the habit of exercising regularly, the task of adding daily exercise may seem daunting. However, you may be surprised to find that it takes less time to add the recommended amount of daily exercise than it does to add enough sleep to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep (if you only sleep 5-6 hours)!

The official recommendation for exercise is: “Adults should engage in moderate-intensity physical activities for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/American College of Sports Medicine. Some physical benefits of exercise are: a stronger heart and respiratory system, stronger bones, decreased body fat, increased functional ability, increased calorie burn, increased metabolism, increased energy, increased lean body mass, relief of muscle soreness, improved posture, improved self-discipline, and improved quality of life.

Some disease-related benefits of exercise are: lower blood pressure, increased HDL (good cholesterol), improved cholesterol ratio, improved immune function, improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, decreased resting heart rate, and decreased risk of injury.

There are always a lot of little things you can do to add physical activity to your day: park at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, do 2 minutes of toning exercises during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show, hop on any stationary cardio machine (treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc.) while watching your favorite TV show, sit on a stability ball at your desk (either at home or at work), take a 30-minute walk during lunch, walk anywhere that’s less than ½ mile away rather than drive there, etc.

Some physical activities might even seem pleasant, like taking a walk with your family after dinner, going for a swim on a hot day, going for a walk, hike or bike ride with family or friends on the weekends, or playing in the park with your kids (rather than watching them play from a bench). It’s important to do something that you enjoy; otherwise, you won’t follow through.

Decide what time of the day will work best for you to exercise, and set up an appointment with yourself for exercise. For a year, I’ve been exercising at 6 a.m. so that I could finish before my husband left for work. Now I’m burning out and having a hard time getting up that early, so I’ve decided to exercise in the middle of the afternoon while my girls are napping. The point is to set up a specific time and follow through as if it were an appointment for a job interview: don’t back out on yourself!

Also, decide what types of exercise you will do on which days; you need cardio, muscle toning, and flexibility. Stretching is good to do after all types of exercise. Beyond that, you can either segregate or combine cardio and toning exercises. However, your muscles need a rest after the fatigue of toning exercises, so be sure to work the same muscle groups only once per 48 hours. If you want to combine cardio and toning exercises every day, just make sure to tone different muscles on different days. Alternatively, you can do toning exercises every other day. You can do cardio and flexibility every day.

In addition, exercise benefits the other aspects of the SWEET Life in these ways: improved Sleep, increased thirst (i.e., you need to drink more Water), increased metabolism (i.e., you can Eat more), and decreased stress (i.e., increased Tranquility). Add exercise to your daily routine and reap the benefits!

Yoke, Mary. ((2003). A Guide to Personal Fitness Training, Revised Edition. Aerobics and Fitness Association of America: Sherman Oaks.

Have a SWEET week!


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