Don’t have time for exercise? Perhaps it’s time to reframe what true exercise looks like, says Palmer physical therapists Anne Thomas.
“Exercise doesn’t require a gym, special equipment or a high intensity,” said Thomas, owner of Body In Balance Physical Therapy in Palmer. “Down to its core, exercise is simply movement. Despite being busy, most of us have plenty of time to move around every day. The key, then, is to optimize these moments to your benefit.”
With shorter, cooler days ahead of us and the Holiday Season just around the corner, this is often the time of year when exercise is most likely to take a back seat to other obligations – possibly even disappearing for days at a time.
But with the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition suggesting adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity each week, Thomas advises people to not underestimate both the long- and short-term benefits of movement … especially this time of year.
“Regular exercise often helps reduce stress and improve focus and energy levels, while also improving your mood during the shorter, darker days leading into the Holiday Season,” Thomas said. “This, of course, is in addition the more wide-ranging health benefits most people are familiar with.”
What can you do, then, if you find you don’t have time to hit the gym or go for that morning jog? Thomas offers the following tips for turning seemingly typical daily moments into opportunities for exercise:
Take Mobile Meetings: Walking is one of the best and most inclusive exercises out there. So, next time you have a meeting scheduled with a reasonably small group of people, suggest making it a mobile meeting by walking and talking outdoors, through the hallways of your building, or whatever setting is most pedestrian-friendly.
Rethink the Stairs: It’s a no-brainer that taking the stairs instead of the elevator can offer you a dose of additional exercise each day. Beyond this, though, make the stairs part of a greater routine. Even if you have no place to go, burn off some steam by walking the stairs over breaks and during the lunch hour.
Take Work to the Gym: While you don’t necessarily need a gym to exercise, it definitely pays to take advantage of the membership — if you have one. But, don’t go there in lieu of work. Go there with work. Catch up on reading, emails or other “housekeeping” tasks while walking, pedaling or using the elliptical.
Pour Yourself into Housework: Whether indoors or out, don’t underestimate the effectiveness of housework as exercise! Just throw on some music, pick up the pace, and throw yourself wholeheartedly into the efforts of cleaning and maintaining your home.
Visit a Physical Therapist: If other factors such as pain, endurance or movement limitations are keeping you from making exercise a priority in your life, or you simply need help finding a regimen that works best for you, visit with one of the physical therapists at Body In Balance Physical Therapy. A physical therapist will assess the source of your limitations or discomforts and provide a path toward leading a more active and healthful life.